The rumor had been growing for a few days. Having a certified account on Twitter will pay off. Elon Musk announced on Tuesday, November 1, the launch of a monthly subscription at $8 per month to certify his account on this social network, which he has just acquired. This subscription should also result in less exposure to advertising.
The social network has already offered a subscription with paid features since last year, but the general manager wants a new program, more expensive and more widely adopted. The ultimate goal is to increase the platform’s sources of revenue. “The current system of lords and peasants, with those who have the blue tick and those who don’t, is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8 a month,” said the Tesla and SpaceX boss, who acquired Twitter on Thursday.
So he plans to merge together Twitter Blue – a $5 per month subscription for a more comfortable reading mode and editing tools – and the ability for eligible accounts to have their identity verified and certified. Currently, only certain profiles can request this blue tick token of authenticity, including governments, companies, media, political, cultural or sports personalities, etc. They can lose their badge if they do not respect the rules of the platform. As of Friday, Elon Musk asked engineers to work tirelessly on this overhaul of the system.
Twitter’s current lords
He said followers would have other benefits: their tweets will appear in priority, they will be able to post longer videos and audio messages, and they will be exposed to “half the advertising”. Twitter Blue currently provides access to free, ad-free articles from hundreds of news sites like the Los Angeles Times.
This will still be the case in the new version “for publishers ready to work with us”, mentioned Elon Musk without giving further details. The price of the subscription will be adjusted according to the countries. “It will also bring revenue to Twitter to reward content creators,” he concluded.
The richest man in the world has repeated since the start of the eventful takeover process that he had embarked on this operation to strengthen freedom of expression in this “public square” essential to democracy. He assured that profitability was not his priority. But Twitter is a network whose revenue comes 90% from advertising and which has never been very profitable compared to its Californian neighbors Meta (Facebook, Instagram) and Google (YouTube). And Elon Musk may promise that the tweeting platform will not become unlivable when he relaxes the rules of content moderation, some advertisers are worried.
On Friday, automaker General Motors announced that it is temporarily removing its ads from Twitter. The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), for its part, reiterated the importance for brands that “toxic content” be removed. Diversifying income therefore seems necessary. According to the specialized site The Verge, Elon Musk first considered raising the price of the subscription to 20 dollars per month.
“Twenty bucks a month to keep my blue badge?” Fuck them, they should pay me instead. If it’s set up, I’m out,” bestselling author Stephen King tweeted Monday. Elon Musk had responded by suggesting eight dollars a month – with no apparent response from the writer. The very idea of having to pay to have your account certified has drawn a lot of criticism.
“Appealing to Twitter users to make more money may be the right strategy, but verification isn’t the place to pay,” commented Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg. “The certification is supposed to ensure the authenticity of accounts and conversations on the platform, it is not a premium tool to improve the experience of users who access it,” she added.