Elon Musk has announced that Twitter will offer a $8-a-month premium subscription service that will verify users, increase the visibility of their posts and allow them to see fewer ads, in his first step in overhauling the product, since he took over the reins of the company last week.
Prior to Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the social media group, which closed last week, users could pay $4.99 a month to subscribe to Twitter Blue, giving them access to exclusive features including an edit button.
The richest man in the world said in a Twitter thread on Tuesday that he now wants to offer “Blue for $8/month”. This would give subscribers “priority to replies, mentions, and searches,” which he says is “essential to defeating spam/scams.” It would also give users the ability to post longer video and audio clips and view “half as many ads,” he said.
Musk has also indicated that he will revise the verification system – which only gives high-profile celebrities, politicians and journalists a “blue tick” next to their username for free – to extend it to Twitter Blue subscribers.
“Twitter’s current Lords & Peasants system for who has a blue tick and who doesn’t is bullshit,” he said, adding, “Power to the people!”
The renewed surge in subscription revenue comes as Twitter faces growing concerns from advertisers, who make up the bulk of the company’s revenue. Many brands are considering pausing spending amid plans to roll back content moderation, industry leaders said.
The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, a marketing industry group, warned Musk on Monday that keeping the platform free of inappropriate material is “non-negotiable.”
The reorganization would be Musk’s first major change to Twitter’s business model and product since taking control of the company. The billionaire acted quickly to make a name for himself on the platform, tweeting out numerous new product features over the weekend.
Musk had ordered employees to work “24/7” to implement his new vision for Twitter verification. A person familiar with his mindset said that several pricing options had been discussed in the past, including $9.99 and $14.99 per month.
Musk responded to author Stephen King’s concerns about media reports Tuesday that it would cost $19.99, writing, “We’ve gotta pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Those who sign up could also bypass the news article paywall for publishers who choose to partner with Twitter, Musk said. “This will also provide Twitter with a revenue stream to reward content creators,” he said.
He added that the price would be “adjusted in proportion to purchasing power parity, depending on the country,” without giving any further explanation.