Elon Musk defends payment model for Twitter amid end of free verified blue ticks

Elon Musk defends payment model for Twitter amid end of free verified blue ticks

Elon Musk defends payment model for Twitter amid end of free verified blue ticks

Elon Musk on Friday defended his controversial compensation model for Twitter, saying any social media platform that doesn’t follow suit will fail because it will be overrun by bots.

Musk made his prediction on the eve of Twitter’s April 1 ultimatum that accounts verified with the darling blue tick that hadn’t put out any money would lose it.

“The fundamental challenge here is that it’s (easy) to create literally 10,000 or 100,000 fake Twitter accounts using just one computer at home and with modern AI (artificial intelligence),” Musk said during a Q&A session on Twitter.

“That’s why you really have to push for verification, where verification requires a number from a reputable carrier and a credit card,” Musk said.

“My prediction is that any so-called social media network that doesn’t do that will fail,” Musk added.

The system change puts pressure on businesses, journalists and celebrities who used Twitter as their primary communication channel and relied on the blue tick for credibility.

And it also raises the specter of impostors and pranksters paying for an officially verified, but totally bogus account.

In the United States, the subscription plan, known as Twitter Blue, costs $8 (approximately Rs. 700) per month or $84 (approximately Rs. 6,900) per year, or $11 (approximately Rs. 900) per month if purchased through the Apple App Store. .

Since its inception in 2009, the tick or blue tick has become a signature feature that has helped the platform become a trusted forum for policy makers and activists.

But Musk and his fans said the blue check was decided by executive order in a secret process and called it a symbol of an unfair class system.

Opening up the blue tick to paid subscribers was one of the first moves Musk made when he took over Twitter last year, but his redesign backfired.

Within hours, Twitter was inundated with fake but verified accounts impersonating celebrities, big corporations, and even Musk himself.

Musk quickly backtracked, but many advertisers fled the site, depriving Twitter of a major revenue stream that the CEO is struggling to replace.

For now, blue checks from celebrities – including Justin Bieber and his 113 million followers or footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and his 108 million – are labeled on the site as “legacy” accounts.

“It’s going to be awful”

The verified accounts conundrum also involves government officials, charities and media companies.

Already, the White House, which will retain special designation as a government entity, has told employees it won’t pay to have its staff’s official Twitter profiles keep the blue check mark, Axios reported.

News organizations, businesses, and charities have already lost their blue ticks and been labeled as verified business accounts in Musk’s new system.

According to the Twitter website, these cost $1,000 (about Rs.82,200) per month in the US and $50 (about Rs.4,100) for each additional affiliate account.

“It will be terrible for those who cannot afford the new fee,” said Andrew Stroehlein, European media director at Human Rights Watch, who said his group would not pay for the privilege.

“It will hurt the effectiveness of grassroots activists, including human rights activists, who have long used Twitter to organize at the grassroots,” he added in a blog post.

The New York Times said it would not pay for a verified business account and would only subscribe to a blue tick for journalists when essential for reporting purposes.

The “pay to play” verification model is also being tested by Twitter rival Facebook in Australia and New Zealand, which has also drawn heavy criticism.

Much hinges on Musk’s ability to find a business model for Twitter.

Last week, Musk estimated Twitter’s current worth at $20 billion (about Rs. 1.64600 crore), less than half of the $44 billion (about Rs. 3.62100 crore) he paid for the social media platform just five months ago.

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