• December 5, 2022

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After days of speculation over whether new “Chief Twit” Elon Musk would charge $20 to be verified on Twitter, Musk announced a revised Twitter Blue program via — of course — Twitter. Calling the existing system of verification with blue checkmarks “bullshit,” Musk shared the key details.

One critical component: by paying for Twitter, people can drive more visibility of their tweets and platform activity.

What you’ll get for $8 a month:

  • Verification
  • Priority in replies, mentions, and search, which Musk says are essential to defeat spam and scams
  • Ability to post long video and audio (Twitter currently limits to 10 minutes)
  • Half as many ads
  • And, potentially, a paywall bypass for paid-access websites, if “publishers [are] willing to work with us”

That’s much cheaper than the $20 originally rumored and widely panned as too expensive. It’s a price, frankly, that makes some sense. And a price point I anticipated:

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But there is a significant change to social networking behavior with this announcement. For the first time people with the ability to pay can buy higher exposure and ranking: more visibility and more notoriety.

That’s a game-changer.

It’s true, of course, that anyone with money could buy ads, or pay to promote tweets. But this will be a site-wide, pervasive, and all-activity boost to paid users’ visibility and engagement.

What impact that will have on the system, and how it will alter what gets seen, what drives engagement, and what goes viral remains to be seen.

There still will be some kind of vestiges of the existing blue checkmark system that highlights people who have verified themselves and who have some degree of real-world reputation, however:

“There will be a secondary tag below the name for someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians,” Musk added.

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