With Elon Musk in charge, Twitter is planning to boost the price of its Blue subscription plan from $5 to $20 per month and make it mandatory for verified users, according to Platformer‘s Casey Newton and The Verge. If it launches the plan, verified users (celebrities, politicians, journalists, etc.) will have to sign up to the service within 90 days or they’ll lose the blue check mark. And employees working on the project have reportedly been told they’ll be fired unless they implement the changes by November 7th.
Twitter launched Blue late last year in the US for $3 per month, but boosted the price in July to $5. It offers subscribers features like top articles, custom icons and, most recently, the ability to edit tweets. The company hasn’t revealed subscriber numbers, revenue or other details for Twitter Blue, but the vast majority of its revenue (89 percent) comes from advertising, according to Investopedia.
Musk telegraphed the move yesterday, tweeting that “the whole verification process is being revamped right now.” As Newton pointed out, Twitter’s @verified currently follows around 428,000 accounts that carry the blue check, a fraction of the site’s 206 million daily actives users.
A lot of those folks have tweeted about the change, and many wouldn’t pay $20 to keep their verified status. At the same time, users have pointed out that the new system could increase Twitter’s bot and spam issues that Musk seems to hate. “The point of Twitter verification is that… it’s useful to be able to verify their statements are coming from them,” tweeted cosmologist and writer Katie Mack. “It’s supposed to help combat disinformation, not be a status symbol.”
Musk has been busy in the few days he’s been “chief twit.” He has reportedly ordered company-wide layoffs, according to The New York Times. On Saturday, the SpaceX and Tesla boss reportedly told managers to begin drawing up lists of employees to cut.