- READ MORE: Mark, My Words: The fake Shaggy scammers are ruining Twitter for noble, unsung custodians of pop parody accounts
For the time being, a user can become verified on Twitter by completing an application in their Settings page. The “blue tick”, as it’s known informally, is generally reserved for public figures of a particular cultural relevance, including celebrities, influencers, and representatives of major companies like news organisations.
Notably, the official Twitter Help Centre currently sports a disclaimer that reads: “Twitter does not sell the blue Verification badge. A Twitter employee will never request financial compensation in exchange for a badge or as part of the application process.”
Twitter is yet to formally announce any changes to way it doles out the “blue tick”, though Musk did claim overnight that “the whole verification process is being revamped right now”. Rumours of a paid verification model were first legitimised by Platformer, who reported that Twitter may push users to embrace Twitter Blue – its “premium” subscription service, which runs at a monthly fee of $4.99 in the US (£4.30) and $6.99 in Australia (£3.87) – in order to keep their verified status.
The Verge has since clarified those rumours, reporting now that – according to information from “people familiar with the matter and internal correspondence” sighted by journalist Alex Heath – Twitter not only plans to force verified users to sign up for Twitter Blue, but also plans to quadruple its pricing.
Should this report be accurate, a monthly subscription to Twitter Blue will cost $19.99 for American users (£17.24), and will come with verification as one of its in-built features. It’s also noted that, per the most recent plan circulating internally, accounts that are already verified will be given 90 days to subscribe to Twitter Blue, lest they lose their “ticks”.
As for when these changes could be implemented, The Verge reports that employees have been given a deadline of next Monday (November 7) to launch the program. It’s said that if the team working on the move fails to meet this deadline, they’ll be fired.
Musk – who is also the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla – has been notably trigger-happy in firing Twitter’s employees. Within a day of becoming the company’s owner, he’s reportedly laid off several top executives, including CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde.
Finalised last week, Musk’s $44billion acquisition of Twitter ends a long saga between himself and the social media company. It began in April of this year, when the billionaire offered to purchase Twitter after becoming its largest shareholder. He was initially offered a seat on the company’s board of directors, but chose not to accept it.
Musk’s offer was initially turned down by Twitter, which put a “poison pill” measure in place to stop a takeover attempt by Musk. The two parties later entered talks before the deal entered further negotiations, with Twitter’s board of directors unanimously accepting Musk’s buyout offer.
Musk attempted to terminate the agreement in July, claiming that the company had breached its contract by misleading him about the number of fake accounts on Twitter, and suggesting the number of spam bots was much higher than what the company had estimated.
Twitter responded by filing a lawsuit against Musk in an attempt to force him to go through with the purchase. The trial was set to begin on Friday October 7, but three days earlier (October 4), Musk announced he had agreed to move forward with the acquisition; the deal was finally closed last Thursday (October 27).