Twitter Will Sell Coveted Blue Checkmark For $8 A Month, Musk Says—But Benefits Still Unclear

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Nicholas Reimann   Forbes U.S. Staff

Twitter Will Sell Coveted Blue Checkmark For $8 A Month, Musk Says—But Benefits Still Unclear

Topline

Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday roughly outlined his plan for a new Twitter subscription model, which will be centered around offering the platform's blue checkmark for $8 a month—though what the benefits would be remain murky.

Key Facts

Musk tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Twitter's "current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bulls—-," adding he will offer users the blue verification badge for a baseline price of $8 a month.

Verified users will be granted "Priority in replies, mentions & search" and the "Ability to post long video & audio," according to Musk, while they will encounter half as many ads as unverified users.

The billionaire also said the subscription would also let users read content from “publishers willing to work with us,” bypassing paywalls.

Musk claimed the revenue stream from the subscriptions will be used “to reward content creators,” but he did not offer additional details.

Surprising Fact

Musk was reportedly planning to offer a premium subscription service for $20 a month, but he appeared to spontaneously scrap those plans during an exchange with horror fiction author Stephen King, who said Twitter "should pay me." Musk replied early Tuesday: "We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?"

Big Number

Around 300,000. That's how many Twitter accounts are blue-check verified. Twitter reported 237.8 million daily active users in the second quarter of this year.

Key Background

Twitter launched its Twitter Blue subscription service last year at a price of $4.99 a month, offering benefits like the ability to undo tweets, a customizable navigation bar and prioritized customer support. The subscription service was separate from Twitter's verification process, though, and Musk has suggested he will combine the two into a more expensive premium package. Twitter's verification process has long been criticized for a lack of transparency on who qualifies, especially as receiving a check mark came to be perceived as a status symbol. The company last year reopened verification applications to the general public after pausing the program in 2017 over complaints about what many users said was a confusing process. Twitter has continued to only grant check marks to accounts deemed "authentic, notable, and active." The company largely verifies accounts it deems "notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category."

Tangent

Musk has touted an enhanced subscription model as one of his top priorities for easing Twitter's financial troubles, but an analysis from the left-leaning New Statesman found Twitter would make less than $15 million a year if one-in-five verified users paid the earlier reported $20 per month verification price tag. Twitter generates around $5 billion a year in revenue.

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Nicholas Reimann   Forbes U.S. Staff

I'm a New Orleans-based news reporter for Forbes covering the U.S. South and breaking news. Previously, I wrote for The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate covering local government.