Twitter Rolls Out Blue Check Marks for Paying Customers

Twitter Inc. said it began rolling out software updates to charge users $7.99 a month to mark their accounts with a blue check, part of Elon Musk’s early efforts to increase revenue a little more than a week after he took s -ownership of the social media network.

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Details of the latest versions of the software began appearing on Apple Inc.’s App Store on Saturday, promising new features added to the social media company’s previous subscription service called Twitter Blue.

Elon Musk in New York City on Friday.


Photo:

/Associated Press

“Starting today, we’re adding great new features to Twitter Blue, and we’ll have more on the way soon,” the company said. The details of the update implied that Twitter Blue subscribers now get the blue check mark, which was previously given to certain users through a verification process to show authenticity.

“Power to the people,” said the software update. “Your account will have a blue check mark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”

Mr Musk, who completed his $44bn takeover of Twitter last week, is looking to boost revenue and stem losses at the company which he says is losing $4m a day. Twitter is taking a hit from advertisers like General Motors Co.

and General Mills Inc.,

which are halting their spending in light of Mr. Musk’s takeover and concerns about content moderation.

Saturday’s update marks the first significant product change since Mr. Musk took over and caps a week at the company that has included widespread layoffs, chaos and confusion as he rushes to position his brand on things. It was unclear Saturday when the updated service would go into effect for all users.

“The new Blue isn’t live yet — our launch sprint continues but some people may see us making updates because we’re testing and pushing changes in real time,” Esther Crawford, company manager, said on her Twitter account. “The Twitter team is legendary… New Blue… coming soon!”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an effort to make Twitter less dependent on advertising—which makes up about 90% of its sales—Mr. Musk had been hinting that he was leaning towards an $8 a month subscription offer. Earlier this week he tweeted: “All complaints, please keep complaining, but it will cost $8.”

The company’s blue check mark, which had been used by the company for years to verify public officials as authentic, was a point of contention among some Twitter users, who saw it as a symbol of classism.

“Too many heritage ‘verified’ control marks have been given, often arbitrarily, so in reality they are no verified. You can buy as much as you want now with a Google search,” Mr Musk wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Piggybacking off a payment system alongside Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification.”

Twitter’s update on Saturday teased other new features for subscribers to the Twitter Blue service, which launched about a year ago and most recently cost $4.99 a month. Subscribers will soon get “half the ads”, be able to post longer videos and see their “quality” content receive a priority rating, the company said. Previous versions of the service included the opportunity to edit tweets or use icons in tweets.

Saturday’s changes apply to Apple users in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK

A user on Twitter asked when previous subscribers would see the change. “This is oddly tricky given the way Apple deals with ‘subscriptions’,” Mr Musk responded on Twitter. “If you subscribed to the old thing, it’s not super easy to subscribe to the new thing. We are working on it.”

Mr. Musk on Twitter added that “as soon as we confirm it’s working well in the initial set of countries and have the translation work done, it will roll out worldwide.”

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