Categories: Science

Twitter users react to Elon Musk’s plans to charge $20/month for verification

People aren’t happy with new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s ‘greedy’ plans to charge users to have their accounts verified with a blue tick. 

The controversial plan, leaked by Twitter employees at the weekend, will force users to pay $20/month to have a blue tick next to their account name. 

Blue ticks will only be available under Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service that gives access to exclusive features. 

Twitter Blue is currently $4.99 a month, but under Musk’s plans its price would soar to $20 a month – a move branded ‘greedy’ by one user. 

Musk – the world’s richest person with a net worth of more than $210 billion (£180 billion) – completed his purchase of Twitter last week following a protracted legal battle and months of uncertainty. 

According to reports, Musk told Twitter developers they will all be fired if they don’t meet the November 7 launch deadline to get the changes implemented, even though they were only told about it on October 30.

Twitter is planning to remove blue ticks from profiles after 90 days if users don’t subscribe to Twitter Blue, the reports claim. 

MailOnline has contacted Twitter regarding how the plans affect the millions of users where Twitter Blue hasn’t launched yet, which includes the UK. 

On Sunday, Musk admitted that ‘the whole verification process is being revamped right now’. 

Elon Musk, the world’s richest person with a net worth of more than $210 billion (£180 billion), completed his purchase of Twitter on Thursday following protracted legal battle and months of uncertainty. He’s already bringing controversial changes to the platform, including 

When asked about the revelations on Monday, Musk (pictured) said: ‘Oh no, all our diabolical plans have been revealed!!’

Verified user @Psalmology1 said: ‘Is this a joke? $20 for what? I think Twitter should come take back its blue badge, I don’t want [it] again’

‘$20/month for twitter blue?? that is an outrageous price for such minor features,’ said @5pecialagentoso

WHAT IS TWITTER BLUE?

In 2021, Twitter officially rolled out its subscription service Twitter Blue in four countries – the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

Twitter Blue, which is available for iOS, Android and the web, charges users $4.99 monthly fee to access exclusive features, including ‘Undo Tweet’, which gives users a chance to cancel tweets if they have second thoughts.

Twitter Blue also includes Bookmarks, which allows users to save individual tweets into folders, and Reader Mode, which converts threads of tweets into an article-like view. 

Twitter increased the price of Twitter Blue from $2.99 per month to $4.99 per month back in July. 

On October 30, 2022, it was reported that new Twitter owner Elon Musk wants to increase the price of Twitter Blue from $4.99 to $20 a month, and make verified ‘ticks’ a Twitter Blue feature.

The plans were revealed by The Verge, which cited Twitter’s internal correspondence and ‘people familiar with the matter’. 

But the revelation has caused a storm on Twitter, with many threatening to delete their accounts in protest. 

Twitter user @PhilosophyBIM posted: ‘I really don’t care about the blue checkmark on my profile as “verified” but if I have to pay to use twitter down the road, I’d delete my account all together. Simple as that.’ 

@AusomeCharlie said she ‘might delete Twitter’, adding that she’s ‘horrified about the paid blue tick idea’. 

And @bouncytorch said: ‘today i learned about twitter blue and it made me wanna delete my twitter once again.’ 

Meanwhile, @VirtuaMcPolygon said: ‘Cue the mass exodus.’ 

It’s unclear if the thousands of official accounts for companies, charities, non-profits and public bodies will be affected – and if they’ll have their blue ticks removed if they don’t pay the monthly $20 charge. 

According to Twitter, the blue tick next to an account’s name indicates that an account has been verified and ‘lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic’. 

It’s a helpful visual indicator that lets other users know that an account really is the official home of the user that it’s purporting to represent – and not an imitator. 

But users don’t seem to like the idea of paying $20 for the privilege, with one user calling it an ‘outrageous’ price to pay. 

@TLOZ_Triforce17 said: ‘Like hell would I spend $20 on a Twitter Blue subscription to be able to edit tweets and gain a verification badge’

Twitter user @pressurebygrace said she’d canceled her Twitter Blue account and called the new owner ‘greedy’

TWITTER USERS ARE LOSING FOLLOWERS AFTER TAKEOVER 

Multiple Twitter users have posted that they’ve been losing followers since the $44 billion (£38 billion) takeover was completed on Thursday. 

It’s possible people are losing Twitter followers – described as ‘The Great Purge’ by one user – because users are deactivating their accounts in protest at Musk’s purchase. 

Another possibility is that Musk has already got to work at reducing the number of bots on the platform, said to make up five per cent of all user accounts.

On Friday, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill said he’d lost almost 6,000 followers in the last three days. 

Read more 

‘$20/month for twitter blue?? that is an outrageous price for such minor features,’ said @5pecialagentoso. 

Verified user @Psalmology1 said: ‘Is this a joke? $20 for what? I think Twitter should come take back its blue badge, I don’t want [it] again.’ 

Meanwhile, @TLOZ_Triforce17 said: ‘Like hell would I spend $20 on a Twitter Blue subscription to be able to edit tweets and gain a verification badge. This just screams Elon Musk being greedy to make back money for his dumbass decision to buy this platform in the first place. It screams desperate.’

Other users are cancelling their Twitter Blue subscription after learning that it’s going up in price.   

@pressurebygrace said: ‘Canceled my @TwitterBlue account. Can’t see giving the new Twitter owner more $$, especially with all the other crap he’s pulling. Charging to be verified, for example. That’s just greedy.’

And @joshuagale75: ‘Paying more for Twitter Blue than you do for Netflix just to put $240 bucks a year directly into Elon Musk’s pockets.’ 

Blue ticks will ultimately become more scarce on the platform, and an indicator that a user is shelling out a sizeable monthly sum for one.  

@yashalevine also added: ‘Having a blue check will be like a sign that says: “I’m a sucker.”‘ 

@lynnbixenspan: ‘If Twitter starts charging for blue checks, it will become extremely embarrassing to have one.’ 

Twitter user @yashalevine said: ‘Having a blue check will be like a sign that says: “I’m a sucker”

Another user, responding to the news, pointed out that Twitter verification will cost more than Netflix

According to reports, Musk has told Twitter developers that they will all be fired if they don’t meet the November 7 deadline to launch the $20 monthly charge for blue ticks. Pictured, the Twitter logo is seen on the exterior of Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California

After news broke last week that Musk had completed the takeover, users started to notice that their follower counts were drastically depleting. 

It’s possible people are losing Twitter followers – described as ‘The Great Purge’ by one user – because users are deactivating their accounts in protest at Musk’s purchase. 

Another possibility is that Musk has already got to work at reducing the number of bots on the platform, said to make up five per cent of all user accounts.

Another possibility is that Musk has already got to work at reducing the number of bots on the platform, said to make up 5 per cent of all user accounts. 

It’s possible people are losing Twitter followers because other users are deactivating their accounts in protest at Musk’s purchase

‘The Great Purge has begun’: Twitter users report losing of followers as Elon Musk formally takes over the platform

TIMELINE OF ELON MUSK’S CHAOTIC ATTEMPT TO TAKEOVER TWITTER 

April 2: Musk announces that he owns 9.2 percent of the company, making him its largest single shareholder 

April 14: Musk offers to take Twitter private at $54.20 a share, valuing the company at $44billion 

April 25: Twitter accepts Musk’s offer

April 29: Musk sells $8billion in Tesla shares to finance deal 

May 13: Musk says Twitter deal is on hold pending a review of bot accounts

May 26: Musk is sued by Twitter for stock manipulation during takeover 

July 8:  Musk says he’s backing out of the deal. 

Twitter sues, trying to force him into seeing it through.

October 4: Musk proposes again to go ahead with the deal at the original price

October 17: Proposed trial date in Delaware

October 26: Musk visits Twitter HQ with a sink, updates his bio on the site to ‘Chief Twit’ and sets his location to Twitter HQ

After finally completing the deal last week, Musk started his reign of Twitter in audacious fashion, by immediately firing some of Twitter’s top executives at its San Francisco HQ. 

Within hours of the deal, he fired CEO Parag Agrawal and top counsel Vijaya Gadde – the woman responsible for banning President Trump after the January 6 riots last year – as well as CFO Ned Segal. 

Musk said in May he would reverse Twitter’s ban on Donald Trump, whose account was removed after the attack on the US Capitol. 

Musk had previously accused the fired Twitter execs of misleading him and Twitter investors over the number of fake ‘bot’ accounts on the platform. 

Agrawal and Segal were in Twitter’s headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, according to people familiar with the matter. 

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In the past, it was reported Musk had vowed to fire 75 per cent of Twitter staff, thought to be in an effort to cut costs, although Musk denied this on Thursday, according to Bloomberg

Musk signaled the start of his ownership by tweeting ‘the bird is freed’, in reference to the Twitter logo, followed a few hours later by ‘let the good times roll’. 

Musk, who has called himself a ‘free speech absolutist’, wants Twitter to enforce fewer limits on content that can be posted. 

However, he’s also said he wants to prevent the platform from becoming an echo chamber for hate and division.

Other goals include wanting to ‘defeat’ spam bots on Twitter and make the algorithms that determine how content is presented to its users publicly available.

Before closing the deal, Musk walked into Twitter’s headquarters on Wednesday with a big grin and a porcelain sink, subsequently tweeting ‘let that sink in’. 

He also changed his Twitter profile description to ‘Chief Twit’.  

Elon Musk speaks with employees including fired top counsel Vijaya Gadde (left) yesterday after taking over at Twitter. She was responsible for permanently banning President Trump from the site – a move that Musk says he will reverse 

Musk at the Twitter coffee bar yesterday. He previously vowed to fire 75 percent of the staff – to the dismay of many senior employees

Musk posted a video of himself marching into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a porcelain sink on Wednesday

TRUMP SAYS HE’S HAPPY TWITTER IS NOW IN ‘SANE HANDS’ 

Former US President Donald Trump on Friday said he was happy Twitter is now in ‘sane hands’ after Elon Musk formally took over,

 but did not say whether he would return to his account on the platform that banned him.

‘I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by radical left lunatics and maniacs that truly hate our country,’ Trump said in a post on Truth Social, the social media platform that he founded after being banned from Twitter. 

 Musk has said he would reinstate Trump’s Twitter account, but Trump previously said he would not return. 

Read more  

Publicly, Musk has sought to assure advertisers that his past criticism of Twitter’s content moderation rules would not harm its appeal.

‘Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!’ Musk said in an open letter posted on Thursday.

‘The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.  

As news of the deal spread, some Twitter users were quick to flag their willingness to walk away.

‘I will be happy to leave in a heartbeat if Musk, well, acts as we all expect him to, ‘ said user @mustlovedogsxo.

European regulators also reiterated past warnings that, under Musk’s leadership, Twitter must still abide by the region’s Digital Services Act, which levies hefty fines on companies if they do not control illegal content.

‘In Europe, the bird will fly by our EU rules,’ EU industry chief Thierry Breton tweeted on Friday morning.

Musk has indicated he sees Twitter as a foundation for creating a ‘super app’ that offers everything from money transfers to shopping and ride-hailing. 

The deal’s road to fruition was full of twists and turns that sowed doubt over whether it would happen at all.

Musk has changed his Twitter profile location to ‘Twitter HQ’ and his descriptor to ‘Chief Twit’ ahead of a court-imposed deadline to close his $44 billion takeover deal by Friday

There’s a new sheriff in town: Elon Musk tweets on Friday morning after taking over the company 

It all began on April 4, when Musk disclosed a 9.2 per cent Twitter stake, becoming the company’s largest shareholder.

The world’s richest person then agreed to join Twitter’s board, only to balk at the last minute and offer to buy the company instead for $54.20 per share.

Twitter accepted the offer later in April, but the following month Musk said the deal is on hold pending a review of bot accounts. 

His lawyers then accused Twitter of not complying with his requests for information on the subject.

The acrimony resulted in Musk telling Twitter on July 8 he was terminating the deal, and four days later, Twitter sued Musk to force him to complete the acquisition.

Twitter accused Musk of buyer’s remorse, arguing he wanted out of the deal because he thought he overpaid. 

On October 4, Musk performed another U-turn, offering to complete the deal as promised. He managed to do that, just one day ahead of a deadline to avoid going to trial.     

The fired five: Musk culls Twitter’s top executive staff members within hours of taking control of the company  

Parag Agrawal, 38

  • Chief Executive Officer since 2021
  • 2021 compensation: $30.4 million

Agrawal took over from Jack Dorsey when he stood down as CEO in November 2021.

Pictured: Parag Agrawal

He has frequently clashed with Musk over Twitter’s user numbers, with Musk claiming the social media platform exaggerates how many users it has and downplays the number of spam accounts, fakes or bots. 

Agrawal insisted that only around 5 percent of Twitter’s accounts were bots, which infuriated Musk. Musk responded to Agrawal’s lengthy explanation of their calculations with a ‘poop’ emoji. 

The pair also argued in private.

They exchanged text messages that indicated a falling out, as revealed by documents disclosed in the legal battle between the billionaire and the social network.

On April 26, Dorsey, Musk and Agrawal convened a Google Hangout to discuss the takeover, and the conversation did not go well. 

‘At least it became clear that you can’t work together. That was clarifying,’ Dorsey said.

Ned Segal, 48

  • Chief Financial Officer since 2017
  • 2021 compensation: $18.9 million

Pictured: Ned Segal

It was Segal who, in February 2021, announced that Twitter’s ban on Donald Trump was permanent.

Musk has said that decision was wrong, and he intends to reverse it.

‘The way our policies work, when you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform, whether you’re a commentator, you’re a CFO, or you are a former or current public official,’ he told CNBC.

‘Remember, our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence, and if anybody does that, we have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.’

Segal also likely irked Musk with his cautious approach to finance – in particular his announcement in November that he didn’t think investing in cryptocurrency was a good move for Twitter.

Musk is famously a fan of cryptocurrency, and champions Doegecoin.

Segal told The Wall Street Journal that investing Twitter’s corporate cash in crypto assets such as bitcoin ‘doesn’t make sense right now.’

Vijaya Gadde, 48

  • Head of Legal Policy since 2011
  • 2021 compensation: $17 million

Pictured: Gadde

Gadde, described as Twitter’s ‘moral compass’, was a passionate defender of Twitter’s role as a censor and arbitrator. She was long considered one of the people who would be fired first by Musk. 

In October 2019 she was the architect of the idea to stop political advertising on the platform, and shortly before the election she played a key role in the decision to suspend The New York Post’s account when it reported on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Twitter claimed it violated the company policy against promoting hacked material; critics were angered by the heavy-handedness, and Twitter later apologized.

In January 2021, it was Gadde who rang then-CEO Jack Dorsey – on vacation in Hawaii – to inform him they were banning Donald Trump, for violating policies against inciting violence.

Sean Edgett

  • General Counsel since 2017
  • 2021 compensation: unclear

Edgett, a close ally of Gadde, emailed staff last week to say there were no plans for mass layoffs – a move which may have irked Musk, given the impending takeover.

‘Please note that there will continue to be a great deal of public rumor and speculation as we get closer to closing the deal,’ Edgett wrote.

‘First, we have no confirmation of the buyer’s plans after closing and recommend not following any rumors or leaked documents, but instead awaiting facts from us and the buyer directly.’

Pictured: Sean Edgett

Edgett added that there were ‘targeted cost-cutting discussions and plans’ earlier in the year, but those discussions stopped when Twitter and Musk signed a deal. Since then, there have been no plans for company-wide layoffs, he said.

He also warned employees earlier this year to refrain from sharing their opinions on Musk’s bid on social media.

A Twitter whistleblower claimed that senior figures at  the company told him to destroy documents.

Peiter Zatko, the former head of security, who was fired in January, was seized upon by Musk as an ally in his fight to get to the bottom of the mystery about Twitter’s user numbers. 

Zatko’s complaint, in which he accused Twitter of lying about its security practices and violating a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, was described by Agrawal and Edgett as false.

‘We have never made a material misrepresentation to a regulator, to our board, to all of you,’ Edgett said. ‘We are in full compliance with our F.T.C. consent decree.’ 

Pictured: Sarah Personette

Sarah Personette 

Personette worked as Twitter’s chief customer officer until she was fired on October 26. 

The former CCO Personette was handed $11.2 million as part of Musk’s house clearance. 

Just one day before she was culled from the workforce, she wrote on Twitter: ‘Had a great discussion with Elon Musk last evening! Our continued commitment to brand safety for advertisers remains unchanged. Looking forward to the future!’

Jacky

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