Elon Musk wants to take money for a blue tick on Twitter, Stephen King did not like it: the dialogue turned out to be epic
Best-selling author Stephen King's tweet expressing frustration at the expected fee for a confirmed badge drew a response from none other than Elon Musk, who recently acquired the microblogging platform in a $44 billion deal, according to NDTV.
Last week, Musk officially took control of Twitter, a site with over 237 million daily active users that has historically struggled to monetize its content despite its significant impact on public discourse.
Amid speculation that Twitter may soon start charging verified users a monthly fee for blue checkmarks next to their name, Stephen King wrote: “$20 a month to keep my checkmark? Damn it, they should be paying me. If this measure is introduced, then I will leave, like Enron. King was referring to the collapse of the energy company Enron at the time.
There is a lot of speculation about the monthly fee, with some reports claiming it will be around $5 per month, in others – up to $20. The mention of Enron in the author's tweet refers to the epic fall of a major American corporation after years of rapid growth.
Responding to King's tweet, Musk said, “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
The Tesla CEO, who changed his Twitter bio to “Top Tweet” and has now updated it to “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator,” added that he would explain the rationale for the charge before any such changes were made. He also called it “the only way to defeat the bots and trolls.”
The hype around the verified check mark fee has sparked a heated debate, with many saying it's not worth paying for a blue check mark, and others arguing that there's nothing wrong with charging people for a blue badge.
Musk stated that the account verification process is being reviewed. He did not add any details.
According to the report, users will have to subscribe to Twitter Blue for $4.99 a month or lose their “verified” badges if the project moves forward.
The CEO of Tesla Inc hasn't made a final decision yet, and the project could still be phased out, but according to Platformer, it's likely it will become part of Twitter Blue.
Twitter Blue was launched last June as the platform's first subscription service to offer “exclusive access to premium features” based on a monthly subscription, including a tweet editing feature.
NewYorkPost reports that Musk instructed his staff to come up with a plan for the new subscription service within a few days — or they will be fired.
The company's latest earnings report showed a net loss of $270 million, a sharp departure from $66 million a year earlier.
Twitter also reported revenue of $1.18 billion, down more than 1 % year-over-year.
Musk's plan to generate revenue by charging for blue-tick subscriptions has met with backlash from prominent figures, including CNBC's Jim Cramer.
“I won’t pay them anything. They should pay me,” Mad Money host said on October 31.
Kramer’s co-host David Faber agreed, saying, “I don’t pay Twitter more than I pay Netflix every month.”
A banker familiar with the Twitter mindset said that charging for a badge is the easiest way for a company to turn a profit quickly — and argued that for most users who have spent years building their Twitter profile and online brand , shelling out $19.99 a month is a fait accompli.
“There is no alternative platform for global social discourse,” the banker said. – Are you really going to drop everything and start from scratch for $20 a month?”
Jason Calacanis, a venture capitalist who advises Musk, conducted a poll on Twitter late on October 30 whether users are willing to pay for a blue tick .
More than 81% of respondents said they would not pay for the privilege. In response to a poll by Calacanis, Musk wrote: “Interesting.”