Twitter Has Paused Elon Musk’s Plan To Charge Users
Twitter has paused Elon Musk's $8 subscription charge plan until after the U.S. midterm elections.
Twitter has delayed the introduction of its new verification system as the Elon Musk-owned social network wants to avoid impacting the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. The company made the decision the day after its official announcement of the $7.99 monthly fee model. The paid verification will be introduced as part of the platform’s Twitter Blue, subscription service.
Twitter began rolling out updates for some users over the weekend in preparation for the launch of Elon Musk’s updates. The changes, explained in the App Store, said that anyone will be able to purchase Twitter Blue and receive a blue checkmark for the predetermined monthly fee. “Power to the people,” the announcement via Variety said. “Your account will get a blue check mark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”
While Twitter’s paid verification system has been hailed by some, a lot of users are unhappy with Elon Musk’s new model. The decision has also been met with strong criticism from experts and company employees for its potential to exacerbate misinformation before the polls close on November 8th. The move was also aimed at limiting verified users from impersonating political figures or news outlets, claiming false results that may discourage others from voting, The New York Times reports.
According to TechCrunch, several verified Twitter users were already pretending to be Elon Musk, despite the risk of having their accounts suspended for impersonation. Meanwhile, the Director of CISA, the U.S government agency tasked with overseeing election security and protecting voting infrastructure, Jen Easterly said the agency had found no credible information about efforts to disrupt or compromise the election.
Responding to the Twitter verification backlash, Elon Musk said he intends to lower the number of verified accounts he believes were given arbitrarily. “Far too many legacy “verified” checkmarks were handed out, often arbitrarily, so in reality, they are *not* verified,” the Tesla boss wrote. “You can buy as many as you want right now with a Google search. Piggybacking off payment system plus Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification,” he continued.
The social media giant first introduced verified accounts in 2009. The check mark served as a visual signifier to show that celebrities, politicians, and news organizations are authentic. But since then the program has been plagued with problems as the blue tick rapidly came to be a status symbol, rather than proof of identity. As of 2021, there were approximately 400,000 verified users on Twitter – a number which will increase after Elon Musk introduces his paid model.
Twitter’s paid verification is one of several plans Elon Musk has for the platform. Shortly after completing the $44 billion buyout, he laid off almost half the corporation’s employees, totaling roughly 3,700 jobs. However, the 51-year-old defended the decision, citing the company’s high burn rate and a need to repay the $13 billion in debt which was raised to complete the takeover.
According to Bloomberg, Twitter’s new CEO also plans to do away with permanent bans on users because he doesn’t believe in lifelong prohibitions. That means anyone who was cut from the platform would be allowed to return. In response to several complaints about Twitter’s new direction, Elon Musk said, “Trash me all day, but it’ll cost $8.”