Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk announced Twitter Blue, a paid version of the social media platform that is currently available for a limited set of users, will be available at $8 per month and will include a verification badge. It is unclear how the verification process will be included in it but going by the tweets by Musk, it appears those who already have a verified badge or the “blue tick” on Twitter will also have to opt for Twitter Blue eventually.
For those who are complaining on the platform, Musk sent out a message for them too. He said, “To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8.”
Elon Musk’s plan to introduce “paid” Twitter for everyone
Initially, speculations were floating around that Musk was planning to introduce Twitter Blue for everyone at $19.99. The reports suggested that those who have a Twitter-verified badge will also have to opt for the services within 90 days. Notably, Musk had not said anything about the price and only mentioned that the verification process was revamped.
The reports resulted in strong criticism of the platform, especially from the verified accounts that held the Blue Tick has a ‘status symbol’ all these years.
Author Stephen King who was outraged by the idea of paying for using Twitter suggested it should be him who should get paid for being on Twitter. Elon Musk responded to King saying, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers,” and suggested a price of $8 per month. This was the first time Elon Musk had mentioned a service price.
In a Tweet thread, Musk detailed the future plan for Twitter. He said Twitter Blue would cost $8 per month, and the price will be adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity. That means it may cost more or less, depending on where you live. It is being speculated that the monthly subscription fee for Twitter Blue in India will in the range of around ₹150-₹200.
So what will all be in the box? Many media houses have reported that Twitter Verification Badge or the Blue Tick is going to cost $8 per month. The statement is misleading.
The Blue Badge is just one of the perks the users will get with Twitter Blue. Those who are going to pay for Twitter Blue will get priority in replies, mentions and search, which, according to Musk, is essential to defeating spam and scam that has been happening on the platform.
Furthermore, the users will get the ability to post long videos and audio. Currently, it is available for a small group of accounts. Not all verified accounts get to post long videos and audio. The users will see half as many ads as they see now. It is notable that even if you are going to pay for the services, ads are not going anywhere. Musk is keeping all revenue-generating options open, after all, Twitter needs to pay the bills!
Musk added that Twitter might collaborate with publishers and give an option to the Twitter Blue subscribers to bypass paywalls. That means if you pay for Twitter Blue, you might get access to news portals, streaming services, and more that keep their content behind paywalls. The process may include using Twitter to log in on those platforms to gain access to the content behind a paywall.
Musk further said that the revenue generated from Twitter Blue would provide the company with a revenue stream for content creators. It is noteworthy that there is a section on Twitter for content creators to monetize their accounts, but that is again available for a small group of creators. It appears Musk is planning to open it for all content creators very soon.
One of the problems that people may face in the future with verification badges is how to identify who is who? If the number of verified accounts increases exponentially with the Twitter Blue service, how would people distinguish between a real actor, politician, or journalist? Musk answered this question in the tweet thread. He said that, just like politicians, there would be a secondary tag below the name of someone who is a public figure.
Existing premium features of Twitter Blue
As already mentioned, Twitter Blue is not a new feature that Elon Musk is launching, it is an existing subscription-based service that offers additional features, and is available in select countries at present. It is available in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand now.
The features available in the service include Undo Tweet, bookmark folders, themes, custom app icons, custom navigation etc. Twitter Blue subscribers receive dedicated support for issues they may face.
Moreover, when Twitter launches new features, some of them are available to Twitter Blue users first. But the current Twitter Blue plan does not include reduction in ads being shown.
The Current monthly fee for Twitter Blue is $4.99 in the USA, $6.49 in Canada and $6.99 in Australia and New Zealand. This means while the subscription fee is going up by up to $3 in the USA, it is going up by just $1 in Australia and NZ, with the inclusion of additional features like the verification badge, fewer ads, and paywall bypass for media websites with tie-ups with Twitter.
The rationale behind the announcement
According to Musk, giving additional features like a priority in replies, mentions, and search to Twitter Blue users will make it difficult for the bots and spam accounts to survive on the platform. Furthermore, if the bots decide to subscribe to Blue, that does not mean they will be exempted from the axe. Musk said, “If a paid Blue account engages in spam/scam, that account will be suspended. Essentially, this raises the cost of crime on Twitter by several orders of magnitude.”
Twitter Blue will give you special powers on the platform, but the scissors will remain with Musk, and if the Blue subscriber decides to play dirty, he or she will get kicked out. If this happens, Twitter is expected to become a much cleaner and saner platform in the coming days. OpIndia