Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter are coming into view, with the billionaire set to slash 3,700 jobs by the end of this week and starting to sell subscription blue checks for $8 a month to start next week.
Musk, 51, has been pitching his idea for a blue check fee since he bought the company, claiming it will end the current ‘lords and peasants’ system on the social media platform.
The ‘badges’ could go live as soon as Monday, Bloomberg reported, with current blue check holders receiving a ‘grace period’ of multiple months before being forced to either pay or lose it.
In addition, by the end of this week, Musk plans to eliminate about 3,700 employees and end Twitter’s ‘work from anywhere’ policy in an attempt to drive down costs.
Musk had wavered throughout his attempt to buy Twitter on how many positions he would eliminate, originally saying as many as 75 percent of the company’s 7,500 workers before telling employees last week, with some reporting suggesting it would be 25 percent.
Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter are coming into view, with the billionaire set to slash 3,700 jobs by the end of this week and starting to sell subscription blue checks for $8 a month to start next week
Musk, 51, has been pitching his idea for a blue check fee since he bought the company, claiming it will end the current ‘lords and peasants’ system on the social media platform
In addition, by the end of this week, Musk plans to eliminate about 3,700 employees and end Twitter’s ‘work from anywhere’ policy in an attempt to drive down costs
The 3,700 cuts would amount to about half the staff and would see them follow out five high-level executives who have resigned in the past week.
Musk originally suggested $20 a month for verification but appeared to lower the cost after an exchange earlier this week with horror writer Stephen King, where he offered him a discount.
The billionaire is looking to make good on his promise to make the social media platform turn a profit by introducing a charge for Twitter users wanting to keep their verification badge.
But in a sign that the price might not be a done deal, Musk responded to a tweet from the author of The Shining complaining about the new charge.
‘$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me,’ wrote King, who has 6.9million followers. ‘If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.’
But Musk, noticing the author’s complaints, seemed to be in the mood to haggle.
Author Stephen King, who wrote The Shining, said he will leave the platform if Musk introduces a blue-tick verification charge
‘We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?’ he replied.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the discount would apply only to King or to the wider Twitter user base as well, but the comments suggested the $20 figure was not exactly set in stone.
Musk went on to say that he will ‘explain the rationale in longer form’ before the charge is implemented, but added that it is ‘the only way to defeat the bots & trolls’.
When users replied to say King could more than afford the fee, he replied: ‘It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.’
The author, who has previously said he ‘admires Elon Musk’, hasn’t yet responded to the chief executive directly. But many of his fans rushed in to comment in his stead.
’44 Billion to buy the place and his new revenue stream is to push a tin cup at Stephen King,’ said one Twitter user.
‘It’s nice of you to give Stephen King who is worth $500M a $12/mo discount,’ said another.
‘He’s not leaving. They all threaten but they need this platform,’ said a third user.
Actress, writer and comedian Kathy Burke also said she wouldn’t pay if a charge is introduced tot he platform
King isn’t the only blue-tick Twitter user to threaten to abandon their blue ticks if a charge is introduced to the platform.
Actress, writer and comedian Kathy Burke also said she wouldn’t pay.
‘Musk can f*** off with his idea of charging blue-tickers. I give my all to this hell site for FREE. Cheeky b**** should be paying ME. Don’t need the poxy thing anyway.’
Celebrities who have threatened to boycott the site include TV screenwriter Shonda Rhimes, actor Mia Farrow, as well as Madam Secretary star Téa Leoni, She Hulk actor Jameela Jamil, as well as authors and activists Shaun King and Amy Siskind.
George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek, also said he would consider heading for the digital door.
Entrepreneur Jason Calacanis posted a poll on Monday asking people if they would pay $5, $10 or $15 a month, or nothing for verification. Around 81 per cent said they wouldn’t pay, as of the time of writing.
‘Interesting,’ said Musk in response to the poll.
Since Elon’s take over, the social media site has limited some content moderation tools.
Elon Musk is pictured speaking with employees at Twitter HQ. The CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the platform’s engineers, telling them to revamp the platform in two weeks
A blue tick badge allows other Twitter users to verify that other users are who they say they are. The feature has always been free since Twitter’s inception, but Musk is promising to shake up the company’s operations
A blue tick badge allows other Twitter users to verify that other users are who they say they are.
The feature has always been free since Twitter’s inception, but since Musk first promised to buy Twitter, the world’s wealthiest man has made it clear he planned to shake things up at the social media giant.
The price will cover unspecified features which have not yet been revealed.
The exchange comes after the new Twitter boss allegedly issued an ultimatum to the platform’s engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter’s verification system in less than a fortnight or face the sack.
Employees were only told of the project on October 30, and have until November 7 to deliver.
Twitter limits some content moderation tools just days before the midterms
Days after Elon Musk took over Twitter and just before the midterms in America, the social media site has limited some content moderation tools.
It may hamper staff’s ability to stop misinformation, as they will not be able to manually change or punish accounts.
The change is the latest implemented by Musk and comes after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member.
Those working in Twitter’s Trust and Safety organization are currently unable to alter or punish accounts breaking the platform’s rules on misleading information, offensive posts and hate speech.
According to insiders on the matter, they can only penalize people making posts that violate Twitter rules to the extent of real-world harm, according to Bloomberg.
They added that the team were manually enforcing those posts.
The change is the latest implemented by Musk, pictured at Twitter HQ, and comes after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member
At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy.
Policy breaches can be detected automatically or flagged by other Twitter users.
However, only Twitter employees can remove or suspend accounts by using the dashboard.
But the tools have been out of use since last week, according to insiders.
It is alleged that this restriction has been put in place as Twitter transitions to Musk ownership in a bid to stop changes to the app being asked for by employees.
Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees has dropped from in the hundreds to just 15.