Elon Musk has announced that a new version of Twitter Blue will include some sort of verification accessible for $8 per month in the US, with the price “adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity.” He announced the shake-up of the premium service by saying that “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.”
Musk also says that the service will get you:
- Priority in replies, mentions, and search, which Musk argues is “essential to defeat spam/scam”
- Ability to post long video and audio
- Half as many ads
- And “paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us”
Until this point, Twitter Blue has been a very different service, which wasn’t tied to being verified. It cost $4.99 a month, and its main offerings were the ability to read ad-free articles, undo or edit tweets (in some countries), and customize your navigation bar. It also lets you set an NFT as your profile picture. As of Tuesday, however, the ad-free articles portion was removed, though it seems Musk wants to work with publishers in some way, given the intention to let Blue subscribers bypass paywalls.
Musk has been clear about his intention to reduce Twitter’s reliance on advertising for revenue in favor of subscriptions. As recently as this weekend, a plan discussed internally was to charge $20 a month for verification, The Verge reported, with employees being given about a week to implement the change.
Musk hasn’t announced when the new pricing and feature set will go into effect, but currently, the in-app documentation for Blue is for the old system. Musk also says that Blue will give the company “a revenue stream to reward content creators,” but he hasn’t shared details of what those rewards for creators might look like in practice.
It’s also unclear how the verification system will work. Historically, it’s been available to a limited subset of high-profile users who may be imitated, either as a joke or to spread misinformation. However, Musk has said that he wants to use the system to control bot spam.
Musk had hinted at the $8 price in a reply to author Stephen King, who had expressed displeasure with the reported $20 per month price. “We need to pay the bills somehow!” Musk wrote early Tuesday morning. “Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Update November 1st, 2:07PM ET: Musk tweeted that Blue will create a revenue stream to “reward content creators” after we first published this article.