It’s day three of Elon Musk’s reign of Twitter, and barring an influx of racists tweeting, Musk’s verification plan is a big development.
According to The Vergine, Twitter will soon be charging users as much as $19.99 a month for that little blue tick. Under the proposed plan, Twitter will make verification one of the core features of its premium subscription service. Twitter Blue.
Current Twitter Blue subscribers pay $4.99 per month for features like an edit button, custom reading mode, bookmarks, and more. Musk will reportedly triple the price with the extra carrot to allow unverified users to add a blue tick next to their grips.
Existing verified users have 90 days to subscribe to Twitter Blue or lose their verification, reports The Verge.
Aside from the absurdity of charging more for a tick than the monthly cost of a Netflix or HBO Max subscription, verification pay-to-play opens up Twitter to a host of other problems.
As Philip Bump of the Washington Post Remarks, the purpose of verification is to combat misinformation and parody accounts by verifying specific users and organizations. By allowing anyone to purchase verification, Twitter risks users falsely impersonating celebrities, politicians, reporters, or other notable figures and posting false information that could easily go viral—without the ability to fact-check.
Or to quote TED Grantee Katie Mack: “I suspect if this change goes through, it will generally be more difficult for anyone to know what information is in any way reliable or vouched for by a real person or organization. More noise, less signal.”
Alternatively as Earwolf co-founder Jeff Ullrich supposed“If we assume people would just pay for it [verification] because it has value, we can recognize that there is an advantage to being verified. That benefit for many people is credibility and access to conversations/people/opportunities/equality that otherwise would not be accessible to them.”
“The overall result is a platform that raises the voices of those who can afford the tax. This provides a narrower perspective on everything. The company is gaining value, but the discourse *some* people are here for is losing value, assuming you value low-income people,” Ullrich added.
Not to mention that Twitter Blue is currently only available in select countries – specifically the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is not clear what would happen to verified users in other countries at this time.
Musk reportedly told Twitter staff that he plans to launch the new feature by November 7; those employees who fail to meet the deadline risk being fired.
The entire verification process is currently being revised
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 30, 2022