A key Musk focus is an $8-a-month Twitter Blue service. As currently envisioned, subscribers would receive the “verified” check-mark badge, see fewer ads, be ranked higher in replies to others’ tweets, be able to share longer videos and bypass paywalls at news publishers that partner with Twitter. (The $8 monthly fee was lowered from the original $20 figure … after Musk seemed to negotiate publicly with the author Stephen King.)
Twitter is also reportedly rushing out a service that would let users charge others to see content like video, according to The Washington Post; the feature has raised internal concerns about copyright infringement and other legal issues.
Will users pay for Twitter Blue? Supporters of the move point to other social networks, like LinkedIn and Snap, that charge users for additional features. And some organizations, like the newsletter publisher Puck, said they would fork over the fees to keep their employees verified.
But others point out that verification is meant at least in part to, well, verify that the Twitter user is authentic, and paying to get a check mark defeats that purpose. Check marks will also effectively turn subscribers’ prioritized tweets into paid advertisements for Twitter Blue, which could turn off actual advertisers that want their ads to appear next to organically popular content, Slate argues.
We’d also ask: How much money would subscriptions bring in? “It won’t be the majority of people, but there’s a small base of people that will” subscribe, the analyst Rich Greenfield told The Wall Street Journal. But given that Twitter’s own internal research from before the Musk deal closed purportedly showed a drop in activity among power users, it’s unclear how much Twitter Blue would add to a top line that hit $5 billion last year.
Speaking of advertisers … Twitter’s ad leadership is in disarray, after Leslie Berland, its chief marketing officer, and Sarah Personette, its sales chief, left the company.
And though Musk flew to New York this week to allay advertising executives’ fears over content moderation, the ad giant IPG has joined the firms advising clients to temporarily suspend campaigns on the platform over just that.