Elon Musk Wants To Charge Some Twitter Users A Monthly Fee

Elon Musk may soon charge Twitter users $19.99 per month to keep their blue verified status.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Elon Musk wants to charge verified Twitter users $19.99 per month to keep their blue tick badges. The move comes as the world’s richest man wasted no time taking complete control of the social media platform. As soon as his $44 billion deal closed, the Tesla boss appointed himself chief executive officer, dismissed senior management, and immediately began reshaping the site’s strategy.

According to The Verge, Elon Musk has given employees a deadline to introduce paid verification on Twitter. If they don’t, they will have to pack up and leave. The directive is to change the company’s optional, $4.99 per month subscription, known as Twitter Blue, into a more expensive service. Along with unlocking additional features, users will also be verified.

Under the current plan, verified users will have 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark. Employees working on the project were told they need to meet a deadline of November 7th to launch the feature or they will be fired. Elon Musk did not directly comment on the news, but he told his 110 million Twitter followers that the entire verification process is being revamped.

Twitter Blue was launched almost a year ago as a way to view ad-free articles from some publishers and make other tweaks to the app. This included the ability to switch to different color home screen icons. In the financial quarters the social media giant reported earnings as a public company after its debut, advertising remained the vast majority of its revenue. Elon Musk is eager to grow subscriptions to become half the company’s overall revenue.

As of 2021, there are currently about 400,000 verified users on Twitter. But the program has long been plagued with problems. Introduced in 2009 as a response to a growing wave of celebrity concerns about impersonation, the blue tick rapidly came to be a status symbol, rather than simple proof of identity.

That led the company to pause the entire system for years. However, even if every verified user paid the fee, it would generate less than a tenth of the $1 billion in interest due on Elon Musk’s loans to buy the site. Elon Musk also plans to do away with permanent bans on users because he doesn’t believe in lifelong prohibitions, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

That means anyone who was exiled from the platform would be allowed to return. In response to a user complaining that they are being “shadow banned and ghost banned,” the SpaceX founder said he will be digging into the situation further in the coming days. Some of the changes Elon Musk has already introduced is a new look homepage for logged-out users.

With the help of Tesla engineers who now work as Twitter advisors, he’s also planning mass layoffs aimed at middle managers and engineers who haven’t contributed to the code base for some time. The cuts are expected to begin this week with managers already creating lists of employees to fire. Employees tasked with executing the billionaire’s new projects have been working late into the night and over the weekend.