Elon Musk, who has recently acquired Twitter, is planning to revamp the social media platform and is considering charging Twitter users $20, which is around Rs 1600 per month or Rs 20,000 per year, for a blue tick on their account.
Nearly a year ago, the Twitter Blue membership became widely available as a way to read content from some publishers without ads and make other changes to the app, such as changing the symbol color on the home screen. Advertising continued to make up the vast bulk of Twitter's revenue in the few quarters after the introduction of Twitter Blue when it declared results as a publicly traded company. However, Musk wants subscriptions to increase to account for half of the business's total income.
According to the tech newsletter Platformer, the CEO of Tesla plans to raise the $4.99 (approximately Rs 413) monthly cost of Twitter's Blue subscription service to $19.99 (approximately Rs 1700). Users who have been verified by the platform and display a blue checkmark designating them as trustworthy sources would have 90 days to join the Blue tick group; otherwise, they would risk losing their checkmark.
Musk tweeted to his more than 110 million followers on Sunday, declining to address the story directly but stating that "the entire verification process is being revamped right now."
He also drew attention to a poll on Twitter that was posted on Monday morning and asked users to choose one of four options: $5, $10, $15, or "wouldn't pay" in exchange for a blue tick each month. The poll was created by tech investor Jason Calacanis, a close friend of Elon Musk who has been hired by the multi-billionaire to assist run the company since the $44 billion takeover.
The vast majority of people who participated in a survey said that they would not pay anything at all for the blue tick, but a sizeable minority said they would.
As of 2021, Twitter had about 400,000 verified users, but the program has long been plagued by issues. The "blue tick" was first introduced in 2009 as a response to a rising tide of celebrity concerns about impersonation, including those of Kanye West, who wrote on his blog that "EVERYTHING THAT TWITTER OFFERS I NEED LESS OF." However, it quickly evolved into a status symbol rather than a straightforward identification mark.
Due to backlash for granting it to white supremacists, Twitter eventually decided to halt the program for a number of years before restarting it in 2021. As a result, it withdrew the verification status of controversial users like the right-wing personality Milo Yiannopoulos.
However, post the capture Twitter allowed said it would allow free speech on its platform. This caused concern for some people that allowing free speech laws will allow people who were banned for using hate speech or deceptive material to reappear on the platform.
Mr. Musk stated last week that he didn't want the platform to become into a forum for hate and conflict. “It is clear that Twitter cannot deteriorate into a free-for-all hellscape where anything may be spoken without repercussions,” Musk said.
Even if every verified user on the site paid the fee, Musk's annual income would still be less than a tenth of the estimated $1 billion in interest payments on the loans he took out to purchase the site.
However, Musk may have greater ambitions: one of his stated objectives when making an acquisition offer for Twitter in April was to "verify all the humans," and growing its specialized subscription service could generate a sizable income.
Though he has only been "Chief Twit" for three days, Musk has already made changes at Twitter, starting with altering the homepage for logged-out users. He is also preparing to fire many middle managers and engineers who haven't recently contributed to the code base, with the assistance of Tesla engineers he has hired into Twitter as advisors. Managers have already started compiling lists of employees to lay off, so it's anticipated that the cuts will start this week. Since Musk took over on Thursday evening, the staff members tasked with carrying out his projects have worked through the weekend and into the wee hours.
The Washington Post reported that in the first round of job cuts at the San Francisco-based company, Musk intended to fire 25% of Twitter's 7,500 employees. When asked what was "most messed up" at the company in a conversation with a Twitter user on Sunday, Musk responded, "There seem to be 10 people 'managing' for every person coding.";