Verified Twitter users across media and entertainment are responding to reports that they’ll soon have to pay the social media platform to keep their blue checks.
The proposed plan, which would give verified users 90 days to subscribe to the Twitter Blue platform for $19.99, is said to launch on Nov. 7. Many online are – at the very least – skeptical of the plan, while others are telling newly crowned CEO Elon Musk and Twitter to “go f— themselves.”
“I’m probably the perfect target for this,” wrote FiveThirtyEight founder and CEO Nate Silver. “Use Twitter a ton, can afford $20/mo, not particularly anti-Elon, but my reaction is that I’ve generated a ton of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can go f— themselves.”
Following a weekend announcement from Musk that Twitter will be revising its verification process, news broke Sunday that the social media company is planning to charge $19.99 per month to be part of its Twitter Blue platform, which verifies users. Citing internal correspondences they’d received, The Verge reported that Musk’s “directive is to change Twitter Blue, the company’s optional, $4.99 a month subscription that unlocks additional features, into a more expensive subscription that also verifies users,” and that the site “is currently planning to charge $19.99 for the new Twitter Blue subscription … Employees working on the project were told on Sunday that they need to meet a deadline of November 7th to launch the feature or they will be fired.”
TPM founder Josh Marshall wrote a lengthy 11-tweet thread about why he thinks such a plan would be a “colossal failure.” “There’s a reason why literally no social network has ever tried to do anything like it. But let’s get down to some specifics,” he said, adding: “When you’re selling a subscription without strong transactional benefits you’re relying heavily on affinity. Twitter didn’t have a lot of that kind of affinity pre-Musk. Even less afterwards.”
Journalist and podcast Kara Swisher made clear that the new plan was not for her and that she “would not pay a dime for verification.” “Hard no. I pay half as much for @netflix,” she wrote.
Others, like writer Ed Solomon, saw the merits of a “nominal fee” for verified users, suggesting that it would “discourage bots.” “But charging $20/mo to keep a blue check makes me think 2 things,” he explained. “1. They think the check is about status (it’s not); 2. They want to reduce voices critical of them.”
Writers like Steven King, on the other hand, were a little less inviting of the idea: “F— that, they should pay me.”
Through it all, Musk himself knows that he has people talking; he even tweeted out a response to a highly trafficked poll asking how much users would pay to be verified.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2022
Read on for a full roundup of these and other verified Twitter users who poked fun at, fully derided and threatened to quit the social media site if Musk moves forward with the plan to charge.
The idea of forcing people to pay for blue checks gets Twitter’s value proposition totally backward.
For Twitter to have value, it needs to provide valid information from legitimate sources. If anyone can pay for the appearance of validity, the site losses all value.
— Max Berger (@maxberger) October 31, 2022
Hmmm should I pay $20/month to look like a guy who would pay $20/month for a blue check or should I pay 0 dollars https://t.co/vaJWaTcf9I
— seventy hours of sludgy guitar riffs (@nedwards) October 31, 2022
$20 a month to stay verified? that’s the bare minimum. let’s make it $200. or more! i should pay COBRA prices for this blue check. let me choose between this and rent. i know what to do
(@MilesKlee) October 31, 2022
Wait, I’ve been paying $20 a month for my blue check since 2015. You’re saying everyone else has been getting theirs for free?
— Russell Brandom (@russellbrandom) October 31, 2022
Seems the only two categories for a $20/mo blue check are "I have an employer who requires/expenses it" or "I am way too into Twitter in an off-putting way and want to advertise that fact" https://t.co/4s90N1HcgD
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) October 31, 2022
I wouldn't pay $20 a month to be ON Twitter, much less to hold on to my check mark. As far as I can tell, the only thing it does is lets people who hate my posts call me a "blue-check as#h*le." Without it, they'll just call me an as#h*le. I can live with the demotion. https://t.co/FcAhiv6KsW
— John Schwartz (@jswatz) October 31, 2022
“And now the billionaire wants us to pay $20/month for a blue check mark?” https://t.co/6bZJMfWArM
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) October 31, 2022
By forcing people to pay $20/month for a blue check mark they’re also extorting celebrities and other people who could be significantly harmed by impersonators.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) October 31, 2022
LOL. Take my blue check mark, Twitter. It's all good. Also, it's a great way to make it utterly meaningless. Musk isn't that bright, folks. https://t.co/Zng27mtS7r
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) October 31, 2022
I'm probably the perfect target for this, use Twitter a ton, can afford $20/mo, not particularly anti-Elon, but my reaction is that I've generated a ton of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can go fuck themselves.https://t.co/8zFEqeArnJ
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) October 31, 2022
I'm actually skeptical whether this $20 monthly for your blue check thing will come to pass because it's almost certain to be a colossal failure. There's a reason why literally no social network has ever tried to do anything like it. But let's get down to some specifics.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 31, 2022
Hard no. I pay half as much for @netflix, I get @CobraKaiSeries, @TheCrownNetflix, Call My Agent and more for free and don’t have to endure stupidly obvious and painfully wit-free jokes from @reedhastings: https://t.co/qW60IuNXmZ
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) October 31, 2022
I’m not against twitter charging a (very) nominal fee for all (maybe $1.99/mo?). It’d (I think) discourage bots. But charging $20/mo to keep a blue check makes me think 2 things:
1. They think the check is about status (it’s not);
2. They want to reduce voices critical of them https://t.co/iWO7gge9rP
— Ed Solomon (@ed_solomon) October 31, 2022
$20 a month to keep my blue check? Fuck that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 31, 2022
To those with hundreds and millions of followers…now is the time to use your platforms to show up, speak up and defend democracy.
Stop being afraid to speak up because you’ll lose followers or hurt you brand; be bold rather than shrink away silently from twitter in protest. https://t.co/YCC5LW6j91
— James Costos
(@JamesCostos) October 31, 2022