Twitter ‘Blue Checks’ Angered Musk May Charge Verification Fee

Journalists, academics, and media figures are all expressing outrage at Elon Musk for a variety of reasons over his management of Twitter, not the least of which is his announced plan to charge a monthly fee for verified accounts to maintain their cherished blue checkmarks.

Verification on Twitter has been used since the platform’s earliest days to prevent users from creating accounts that impersonate other people, especially those with notoriety. When an account is verified by Twitter, the user’s profile and posts include a now-iconic blue checkmark to let other users know the account actually belongs to the person it says it does.

Over the years, verification and the awarding of a checkmark has become a status symbol and a claim to greater competence and believability than non-verified users.

Musk said after taking over the company last week that he was considering charging a fee of $20 per month for verified accounts to maintain their “blue check” status.

Matthew Chapman with Raw Story responded to Musk by saying he is “not paying $240 a year to stay verified.” He said that no verified accounts would pay for the privilege, because he claimed it is “not a status symbol,” but a “security feature.” He added that charging a fee will “hurt a ton of journalists and make fake news spread more easily.”

Quartz reporter Scott Nover likewise said verified users would not pay the fee, adding Musk “doesn’t know how much money journalists actually make.”

When Stephen King, a novelist of untold wealth, complained in a vulgar way about the suggestion, Musk responded and probably revealed that he had likely been having a bit of sport at the “blue check” community’s expense.

King posted on Monday: “$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.”

Musk responded directly to King on Tuesday morning by cheerfully countering King’s threat to leave the platform. He wrote: “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”

Later on Tuesday, Musk posted that the current system of “lords and peasants” related to blue check verification is bulls***. He added regarding the revised fee proposal of $8 per month: “Power to the people!”

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