Musk says Twitter will charge $8 a month for blue checkmark
Twitter Inc will charge $8 a month for its Blue service, which includes the sought-after "verified" badge, as it aims to boost subscriptions and make the social media network less reliant on ads, its new boss Elon Musk said on Tuesday.
"Twitter's current system of lords and peasants over who does and doesn't have a blue checkmark is nonsense. Power to the people! Blue for $8 a month," Musk said, adding that the price would be adjusted "by country in proportion to purchasing power parity."
A blue checkmark next to a person's username on the social media platform means that Twitter has confirmed that the account belongs to the person or company claiming it. Twitter is currently free for most users.
Billionaire Musk bought Twitter last week for $44 billion.
Since the takeover, he has moved quickly to put his stamp on the company, firing the previous chief and other top officials.
Twitter's advertising chief Sarah Personette announced in a tweet on Tuesday that she resigned from her post last week, further adding to uncertainty for advertisers.
Musk said Tuesday that subscribers with the blue checkmark will get priority in replies, mentions and search, and will be able to post longer videos and audio. They will see half as many ads.
He also offered subscribers a paywall bypass "from publishers who want to work with us."
Musk's comments follow media reports that he is examining the profile verification process and how blue checkmarks are awarded. Twitter has been awarding them to profiles that are noteworthy according to its own criteria.
In a recent survey, more than 80% of Twitter users said they would not pay for a checkmark. Another 10% said they would be willing to pay $5 a month.
Twitter already has a subscription service called Twitter Blue, which was launched in June last year and offers access to features such as the ability to edit tweets.
Amid speculation that Twitter may soon start charging verified users $20 per month for a blue tick, best-selling author Stephen King tweeted: "If this goes through, I'll go the way of Enron."
Separately, S&P Global (NYSE:SPGI) Ratings downgraded Twitter's rating to B- due to "significant" debt growth following the acquisition.
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