Twitter’s verification program has always been a complicated and controversial affair. The company has paused and resumed the application process many times to make it more streamlined. In the Elon Musk ownership era, the social media company could be looking to flip the script around verification: pay $20 per month and you will get a verified badge.
According to a report from The Verge, the company is looking to introduce a new and more expensive version of Twitter Blue — the platform’s paid plan — that will cost $19.99 per month and give its users a verified badge. Currently, Twitter Blue costs $4.99 per month in the U.S and is available in other geographies like New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
The report noted that Twitter is rushing to launch this new subscription plan by November 7. What’s more shocking is that the social network is planning to remove verification badges from current holders if they don’t pay for Twitter Blue within 90 days. Given that verified users are present all across the world, it’s hard to enforce this rule unless the subscription program becomes available globally.
In May, The New York Times reported that Musk presented a pitch deck to Twitter investors with goals ranging from increased subscriber revenue to achieving 69 million Twitter Blue users by 2025. These early changes to Twitter’s paid plan might be a step to get to that mark.
Twitter’s “Chief Twit” Musk didn’t really give out the details of the new program but he replied to a conversation between spaceflight photographer John Kraus and a16z partner Sriram Krishnan that the verification process is being revamped.
Indeed, $20 sounds like a lot of money just to get a verified badge, and many folks like Kara Swisher are not ready to pay that amount. A poll by investor Jason Calacanis — to which Musk replied “interesting” — also has a majority of the people saying no to paying any amount for verification.
The central point of the verification program was to identify genuine profiles of political leaders, celebrities, researchers and journalists so users don’t fall for the information posted by fake accounts. If the new verification process goes through, it might be a free-for-all where any paid user can pretend to be a person of prominence for a while and spread misinformation.
But we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Seven days is a long time in Elonverse and he might come up with a different verification tactic altogether.