Twitter under Elon Musk: Verified accounts may cost $20 per month

The Tesla founder reportedly gave staff until November 7 to launch a paid subscription model if they did not want to be fired

Verified accounts Twitter
Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter.Reuters

After taking control of Twitter last week, Elon Musk has ordered staff to find a way to introduce paid verification. That’s according to several US media outlets, including The Verge and the Financial Times. Twitter is currently planning to raise the monthly fee for Twitter’s Blue subscription from $4.99 to $19.99, and turn it into a broader program that also verifies users.

According to the Financial Times, which had access to internal company emails, Twitter staff have been working nonstop to develop the paid subscription model. Employees were reportedly told they had to launch the new feature by November 7 if they did not want to be fired. On Sunday, the Tesla founder tweeted that “the whole verification process is being revamped right now.”

Twitter’s Blue subscription service gives subscribers access to additional features. Currently, this service costs $4.99 and is only available in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. A source told the Financial Times that several pricing options had been discussed, ranging from $9.99 to $14.99 per month. Should individuals or brands refuse to pay, users verified by Twitter would lose their blue tick, making them more vulnerable to identity theft.

But it seems that few users are wiling to pay for this service. In a Twitter poll of nearly one million people, conducted by a Musk adviser, 80% of respondents said they would not pay to be verified, while 11% said they would be willing to pay $5 a month. Only 5% of the participants would pay $15 a month, according to the poll cited by the Financial Times. Until now, the verification process has been carried out free of charge.

Fake accounts are a big problem for Twitter. Musk cited the issue as his reason for backing down from the buyout agreement – a decision he reversed to avoid trial for breach of contract. In April, the company revealed that it had overstated its user figures by up to two million for three years straight.

Musk took control of Twitter on October 27. His first decision as boss was to fire CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde and General Counsel Sean Edgett.

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