Since Elon Musk completed his purchase of Twitter at the end of last week, there has been considerable talk of what he is doing or about to do.
Reports have ranged from mass laying off of employees to reintroducing banned figures like Donald Trump, but one of the most talked about rumours centres on monetisation of the site.
It should be stressed that the suggestion Twitter Blue is about to increase in price to $20 (roughly £17) per month, and that this will be the only way to gain a “blue tick” verification, remains unconfirmed at this stage. It’s been reported by tech site The Verge, but Musk has yet to confirm or deny the story, although has tweeted that the verification process is under review:
The whole verification process is being revamped right now
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 30, 2022
Ever since it became apparent that he was trying to buy the social media site, Musk has been vocal about the role of spambots and fake accounts on Twitter, and has previously suggested that the number of bogus accounts on the platform was much higher than the company was admitting. How, then, would taking a mark of authenticity and making it available to anyone who will pay for it, and removing it from anyone who is unable or refuses to pay for it, fit in with a move to make Twitter a more credible and reliable source of discussion and information?
One New York Post article I stumbled upon argues that the blue tick is nothing more than a “badge of BS” and that certain influencers in the media are falling back on it to give their inconsequential views more power. I found it a bit of a rambling and confusing piece, but it did make a valid point that even with the free verification process as it is now, high-profile figures like Kanye West are publishing outrageous tweets that bring themselves and the platform into disrepute.
Even so, I find it hard to see this move, if it goes ahead, as anything more than an attempt to make money out of a feature that had previously been free, to attract people who buy into what Musk is doing to sign up and “invest” in the site, and to deter those who don’t. With prominent Twitter users like author Stephen King and comedian Kathy Burke tweeting that they would refuse to pay the fee, surely this just opens figures like them up dummy accounts that masquerade as celebrities, exacerbating the problems Musk claims to be fixing?
Twitter remains a valuable tool though, even if you use it without spending money. To discover what high-quality content can do for your site, and how to harness social media to expand your reach, contact us at Engage Web today.