Tesla CEO Elon Musk has set the ball rolling in Twitter as the company is reportedly all set to start an $8 per month blue tick service for its users as soon as next week. Musk, who's the new owner of the microblogging platform, has long been targeting the company for its inability to contain fake accounts and misinformation.
For Musk, monetising the platform to grow revenue streams is the top priority. The rather expensive Twitter deal -- the billionaire has admitted to “obviously overpaying” for Twitter in the $44-billion deal -- has prompted the SpaceX chief to act swiftly since taking over the company last Friday.
The new blue tick feature, which will cost $8 per month for anyone who wishes to verify their accounts, will have many perks for the company as well as its users. First, it'll help Twitter fight the growing number of spam accounts on the platform, a major challenge for Musk. Second, it'll bring in additional revenue, which could help it become profitable after years of losses.
For users, apart from visibility as verified Twitter users, the feature will allow perks like half as many ads on the platform and priority in replies, mentions and searches.
Notably, Twitter never charged for the blue tick badge earlier and the service was only available for those at risk of impersonation i.e. celebrities, social activists, political leaders, business leaders and journalists.
Though Musk's quick move on making Twitter a paid platform rather than a free-for-all space, and at the same time add more revenue streams in the company heavily dependent on ads, has rattled many, he's adamant it's the only way to make it profitable and fight misinformation.
At the same time, he has asserted that it'll give the utmost priority to ensure voices from all sides get equal space. However, critics say it could suppress the voices of those who don't pay for the blue tick service and can't pay.
"Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that “free speech” is actually an $8/mo subscription plan," tweeted Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York. Replying to her, Musk said: “Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8.”
Besides, Musk also plans to introduce the long sought after 'Edit' button on Twitter. The feature is currently available for Twitter Blue users only, who pay $4.99 per month. But Musk reportedly plans to introduce the feature for everyone for 'free'. Some reports say it's likely that both parts -- paid Twitter blue tick and edit function -- will be launched at the same time sometime next week. Musk has already made his plans clear on making blue tick a paid feature, but the company is yet to announce anything on the edit feature officially.
Meanwhile, Musk stands firm on the company's stance to charge money for the blue tick service, despite opposition by many. "You get what you pay for," he tweeted last night, adding "Being attacked by both right & left simultaneously is a good sign".
In another tweet, Musk said Twitter is simply the most interesting place on the Internet. "That’s why you’re reading this tweet right now." In the next couple of tweets, the billionaire shared three memes, showing how $8 for the new service is essential for ensuring "free" speech and that it's not a big deal for people who, for example, pay $8 for a Starbucks coffee in the U.S.