New Delhi: Elon Musk has said that Twitter will charge $8 (£7) a month to Twitter users who want a blue tick next to their name indicating a verified account.
Reason of Fee
As part of the changes following the $44bn (£38bn) takeover of the social media site, Mr Musk said it was “necessary to defeat spam/fraud”.
The blue tick next to the username – usually for high-ranking characters – is currently free. The move could make it harder to identify reliable sources, critics say.
Mr Musk, the world’s richest man, added that paying users would get priority for answers and searches and half as many ads.
“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” the billionaire tweeted, slamming the old blue tick verification method as a “lords and peasants system.”
Twitter’s previous method of verifying users for blue ticks involved a short online application form and was reserved for those whose identities were the target of impersonation, such as celebrities, politicians and journalists.
The company implemented the system in 2009 after facing a lawsuit accusing it of not doing enough to prevent fraudulent accounts.
But Mr. Musk faces a big challenge as he works to overhaul Twitter’s business, which hasn’t turned a profit in years.
He said he wants to reduce Twitter’s reliance on advertising, even as some companies under his leadership have grown concerned about advertising on the site.
General Motors — a rival to Musk’s Tesla electric car company — announced last week that it was suspending advertising on the site.
Meanwhile, some other big brands have quietly temporarily halted advertising on the platform as they wait to see how Mr Musk’s changes take effect, a media buyer for a leading ad company told the BBC.
On Monday, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, IPG, advised its clients to suspend ads on Twitter for a week, citing the need to provide more clarity on Twitter’s plans to ensure “trust and safety” on the platform. IPG receives billions of pounds a year from some of the world’s biggest brands to manage their marketing budgets.
The blue tick privilege fee has sparked skepticism after initial reports said the fee could be $20 (£18) a month.
Many people on the platform echoed the statement of author Stephen King, who wrote in response to news of the changes that Twitter “should pay me.”
Mr. Musk wrote to Mr. King: “We have to pay the bills somehow!”