Pay or lose the blue tick next to your account on Twitter. Elon Musk has been overhauling everything since he took over Twitter last week. After firing some of the top executives over the weekend, Musk, reportedly, is planning to introduce a verification system that is pay-for-play and will cost verified customers $20 per month.
According to people familiar with the development and internal email viewed by The Verge, the directive is to change Twitter Blue, the company's optional $4.99 per month subscription that unlocks more services, into a more expensive subscription that also validates users. The new Twitter Blue subscription will cost $19.99, as of now, according to Twitter.
Musk's Big Plans
Musk has been overhauling everything at Twitter and now he wants to raise more money from the company. As per the new plan, users who have been validated by Twitter and have a blue tick designating them as reliable sources would have 90 days to join Blue or risk losing their check mark.
The worst part is that engineers have until November 7 to implement the plan or risk losing their jobs. The employees were informed of the project only on October 30. According to the Verge report, the cost of the verification is subject to change. The cost will also include as-yet-unidentified other features.
Musk, the world's richest man, has been clear that he intended to make changes at the dominant social media company when he first made an offer to purchase Twitter.
Musk did not comment directly on the story but tweeted to his more than 110 million followers on Sunday that "the whole verification process is being revamped right now."
He also flagged a poll on Monday morning asking Twitter 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 Musk, who is part of a team created by Musk to assist in running the company after the $44 billion buyout.
Netflix's entry-level plan is $6.99 ($4.99 UK) per month.
New Boss, New Rules
There are around 400,000 verified users on Twitter. Making them pay could help the platform stay solvent in the light of claims that only 10 percent of monthly users are "strong tweeters" and that bots make up 5 percent of all users.
Less engaged users mean fewer potential customers for advertisers. Musk himself asserted during the legal struggle to buy Twitter that the vast majority of advertisements are visible to no more than 16 million users.
Additionally, Musk has denied a New York Times report that said the founder of Tesla planned to fire a number of employees before November 1 in order to forgo giving them their yearly stock incentives.
Since the takeover, Musk's goals for Twitter have primarily been demonstrated through his Twitter account.
Musk also posted a poll on Monday asking fans if he should bring back Vine, the video-sharing app that was seen as a forerunner to TikTok but was discontinued by Twitter in 2016. This is another indication that the company is about to undergo a significant transformation.
In a conversation with YouTube star Mr. Beast, Musk said that competing with TikTok would be the driving force for the move. Mr. Beast wrote, "If you did that and actually competed with tik tok that'd be hilarious." Musk replied: "What could we do to make it better than TikTok?". Twitter has 230 million users, compared with more than 1 billion on TikTok.
This comes amid reports that Musk plans to fire a quarter of the company's staff in his initial wave of layoffs following his multi-billion dollar buyout of Twitter. The discussions about the job cuts were overseen by celebrity attorney Alex Spiro, a longtime Musk legal counsel, according to the Washington Post.
Musk was prompt to fire the social media company's CEO, chief financial officer, head of legal, and general counsel after he took control of Twitter on Thursday.
A source told the Post that the initial round of layoffs will affect practically every department, with a focus on sales, product, engineering, legal, and trust and safety in the coming days. According to a regulatory filing, Twitter had over 7,000 workers at the end of 2021, with roughly 2,000 people making up a quarter of the total.