Twitter Blue increases in price, still has ads

  • Twitter Blue will now cost $8 but pricing will vary around the world.
  • There will be half as many adverts on Twitter Blue.
  • Elon Musk says this subscription fee will be used to support content creators on Twitter.

The Blue Check mark on Twitter serves as a way for everybody to know that an account they are interacting with is the account they say they are.

Of course, the verification process to get such a Check Mark is complicated and in Hypertext’s own experience, hit or miss. Now, however, we can simply pay Twitter $8 per month for that mark.

This according to the billionaire who paid too much for Twitter, Elon Musk.

On Wednesday afternoon the man who is $44 billion in the hole, announced that, “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.” And as such, us peasants can now purchase the Check mark with Twitter Blue for $8. Yes, the old lords and peasants systems is erm, being replaced by another lords and peasants system.

This price will vary from country to country depending on that country’s purchasing power. But what do you get with Twitter Blue? According to Musk your $8 will get you”

  • Priority in replies, mentions and search,
  • Ability to post long video and audio,
  • Half as many adverts as free Twitter.

But wait, there is more. So-called “public figures” will be given a secondary tag below their name similar to the tag you may see on a politicians profile right now. We need to stop there because essentially, these tags will become the new Blue Check mark that can be used to verify an account is legitimate, at least we hope that’s the case. There are no details for how this process will be undertaken as much of the labelling of government and state-affiliated media appears to happen from within Twitter rather than via a request.

Perhaps most alarming is this functionality isn’t even available throughout the world as detailed in this Help Center page.

So Twitter’s verification process seemingly isn’t going away, it’s just now a tag instead of mark beside your name? There are so many questions that would ordinarily be answered in a press release, but we now just get a thread of Musk’s unedited thoughts.

Twitter and content creators

It also appears as if Musk is eyeing the success of platforms such as TikTok and YouTube. We say this because in his thread announcing this change, he mentioned that the $8 fee would “give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators”.

Let’s do a bit of napkin math here.

According to a report from The Guardian, Twitter had 400 000 verified users as of 2021. Assuming every single person who is currently verified pays for Twitter Blue that’s $3.2 million a month and $38.4 million a year.

By contrast, when TikTok launched its creator fund in 2020 it made a $200 million pool available to creators. Creators were paid out proportionate to how many views they pulled into the platform. Importantly, that fund has been lambasted for low payouts to creators, so much so that TikTok recently announced it was going to share advertising revenue with creators.

Could Twitter split it’s advertising revenue instead? We wouldn’t.

In its financial results for the second quarter (PDF), 91 percent of Twitter’s revenue came from advertising. Subscription and other revenue brought in just $101 million during that quarter.

If Twitter were to split its subscription revenue it would have a paltry $138 million to share with creators and that’s before we even ask the question – what does content creation on Twitter even look like.

Twitter’s image and video compression is incredibly aggressive and makes enjoying content that much harder. There are talks of Musk trying to revive Vine but in an age of TikTok, Meta’s Reels and YouTube Shorts, that’s a big gamble. Of course it could work what with the potential that TikTok could be banned in the US but that may also not happen.

To sum up then, Twitter’s plans to lure content creators in when there are better options for them feels doomed to fail just like Fleets did.

There’s also the matter of what the average user would do with a Twitter Blue account. There are really no tempting features that Musk mentioned for somebody who just wants to follow public figures and their friends.

Will ordinary folks pay $8 for Twitter Blue? We don’t know but given that subscription offers nothing of real value, we very much doubt it. We have to wonder if Musk was hoping all 237.8 million monetisable daily active users on Twitter would jump at this announcement.

In fact, making the blue check mark a pay-to-play feature means ordinary folks may find it harder to determine which accounts are legitimate or not.

We suppose that us peasants will have to work a bit harder to figure this out.


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