In a move that could lock poorer users out of Elon Musk’s free-speech bonanza, Twitter is reportedly considering charging for coveted account verification.
Just days after assuming the helm as “Chief Twit” of the controversial social media platform, Musk issued a tweet of his own saying: “Whole verification process is being revamped right now.”
As one might have learned to expect from the no-less-controversial billionaire, Musk was light on further details, leaving the rumor mill to start churning in his wake.
A tech newsletter cited by Reuters reported that the Twitter Blue service – launched as an optional upgrade in June last year – would become mandatory, forcing users to pay $5 a month to retain their verified badges. Another reports the cost of $20 a month.
If either of these are proven true, to keep getting the verified badges on posts that lend an air of authenticity in today’s bot-infested cyber-world, users would have to pay a subscription fee.
Tweet, tweet, tweet…
Other Twitter users predictably had fairly strong reactions to the rumors. “Can't see myself paying $20/month to be verified,” tweeted cyber-watcher Marcus Hutchins aka @MalwareTechBlog. “Not that I wouldn't pay for Twitter, but pay-to-play verification is just going to gatekeep poor people while also enabling dubious accounts to buy legitimacy.”
He added: “Verification should be free, and maybe split up into different badges for different types of notable accounts. I'm on the fence about verification for standard users as I'm not sure what problem it's supposed to solve. It just forces people to divulge personal info.”
Other less technical users of the platform reacted with indignation and admiration to the potential move.
“Hard no,” tweeted one. “I pay half as much for Netflix, I get Cobra Kai, the Crown, Call My Agent, and don’t have to endure painfully obvious and stupidly wit-free jokes.”
“Blue checks being forced to pay for their verification or lose it is genius,” said another, predicting a rocket-like rise in Twitter’s value.
And while all of the above may be little more than rumor and subject to change, one constant remains: as ever, Twitter’s new CEO is in the headlines.
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