Elon Musk Suggests Charging $8 per Month for Twitter Verification After Backlash to Reported $20 Fee

Elon Musk got an earful from Twitter power users about the prospect that the company would begin charging verified accounts $20 per month in order to retain their blue check-mark badges — and the world’s richest individual wondered out loud if maybe $8 per month was a more palatable option.

Musk had planned to jack up the price of the Twitter Blue subscription plan from $4.99 to $19.99 per month, and would make the service the only way to retain verified-user status, the Verge reported Sunday. Users would have 90 days to join the subscription program or have their verified status revoked, per the report.

Writer Stephen King, among many others who weighed in on the subject, did not mince words in reacting to the idea. “$20 a month to keep my blue check?” King tweeted Monday to his 6.9 million followers. “Fuck that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.” He followed up later by saying, “It ain’t the money, it’s the principal of the thing.”

Late Monday evening, Musk replied to King, saying, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”

Musk continued, “I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls.”

On Monday, Musk also changed the description in his bio from “Chief Twit” to “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator.” In SEC filings, Musk identified himself as CEO — after firing previous chief exec Parag Agrawal and other top Twitter managers — and dissolved the previous Twitter board after taking the company private. Musk closed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter on Oct. 27, after six months of haggling and Musk trying to back out of the deal (which he said he’s “obviously overpaying” for).

Twitter first introduced verified accounts in 2009. The goal was not to generate revenue but to increase trust in the social network by providing a visual signifier that notable account holders, such as celebrities, politicians, companies, entertainment brands, news organizations and other accounts “of public interest” were the real deal and not impostor or parody accounts.

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