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Twitter may soon charge for account verification

Twitter may start charging for verification through a $20-a-month Twitter Blue subscription.

Twitter verification mark
Image: KnowTechie

Twitter may start charging for verification, according to internal messages obtained by The Verge

Verification — often referred to as a ‘blue checkmark’ — distinguishes public figures from ordinary Twitter users. This is a privilege it bestows upon high-profile names in music, politics, and media. 

According to the proposals obtained by The Verge, Twitter will require verified users to pay for the company’s premium subscription service to maintain their status. 

The service, Twitter Blue, currently costs $4.99 per month, although the company reportedly plans to raise the price to $19.99. 

READ MORE: How to sign up for Twitter Blue

The Verge claims that verified users will have a 90-day grace period to sign-up before their verified status lapses. 

Why verification matters

Twitter blue ios app
Image: KnowTechie

Verified accounts confer some benefits — most notably, a level of resistance against impersonation. But whether individuals will pay $240 per annum to retain these benefits remains to be seen. 

There’s a certain irony here. Elon Musk is arguably the most impersonated man on Twitter. His name and stature are repeatedly weaponized as part of crypto scams

In the period between October 2020 and May 2021, Musk impersonators made a cool $2 million in cryptocurrency, according to data from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Verification is, in short, an essential component of a healthy Twitter ecosystem. Without it, it becomes significantly easier to steal money from credulous members of the public.

Monetizing Twitter

Elon musk and twitter logo
Image: KnowTechie

The move comes in the wake of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last week. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO paid $44bn — a steep premium over its premium market capitalization. 

Musk must now turn Twitter into a profitable business. Like most billionaires, Musk’s personal wealth is tied to his holdings in SpaceX, Tesla, and Neuralink. As a result, he turned to banks and financiers to fund his acquisition of the company. 

The enigmatic founder has already launched a wave of layoffs. It’s unclear how far he intends to slash the social site’s headcount, but early reports suggested a number in the 75 percent range

Musk has dismissed those figures as exaggerated, but is yet to offer any clarity about the exact number.

In addition to slashing costs, Musk also intends to find new ways to monetize the ailing social network, which has struggled to make a profit since it first went public in 2013.

One proposal would see news organizations charged to embed tweets within their articles. As someone who has worked in media for the past decade, this proposal is decidedly far-fetched. 

First, media organizations don’t have any money. Second, they can just quote the text of a tweet within an article, either verbatim or paraphrased. 

Musk faces a dilemma. How does he turn Twitter into a profitable business? And can he do that without alienating existing users?

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Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Reason, The Next Web, and Wired.

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