The aristocracy of Twitter is no more. Elon Musk referred to the certification procedure as a “lords & peasants system” last year, and on Thursday, he put the guillotine into operation. Capitalism has replaced feudalism because of the idea that money buys status. Celebrities including Cristiano Ronaldo, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, J.K. Rowling, and Sir Paul McCartney lost the blue ticks that signify verified status on their profiles in a long-promised purge.
On 1 November, shortly after buying the social media platform, Musk decried the system for verification, tweeting: “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.” Soon, he wrote, users would have to pay for accreditation, adding: “Power to the people!”
Twitter Accounts Affected By Thursday
Accounts impacted by Thursday’s change have not subscribed to Twitter Blue, which is now the only way to obtain the coveted blue tick – unless Musk decides to foot the bill himself. Twitter Blue costs $8 per month in the US, £9.60 in the UK, and A$13 in Australia. About 400,000 legacy verified accounts had their blue ticks removed as a result of the change.
However, the blue tick is more than just a compliment. Users of the new service will rank higher in searches and conversations, and their replies will also be given more importance. They will also gain from tweets that they reply to.
This marks a change from the old system, in which blue ticks served to reassure users that the accounts in question were who they claimed to be. It means that continuing to have influence or presence on the site will now require payment. Users will still be able to view unverified profiles that they follow on the platform’s standard For You feed, according to Musk, who has stated this.
Imposter accounts plagued a previous Twitter Blue push. Therefore, some measures against them have been included, such as preventing new accounts from joining up for the site for 30 days. The network is “working on an updated process for new Twitter accounts to help minimize impersonation risks,” according to the Twitter Blue website page, and “may impose and change waiting periods for new accounts without notice.”
Despite his rhetoric against feudalism, Musk’s action is mostly driven by financial considerations. He said he was trying to back out of the purchase of Twitter because he thought the site was overrun with annoying automated accounts. Musk claimed that while Twitter acknowledged the site had a bot problem, which was primarily tied to pornographic and cryptocurrency content, it was much worse than the business was letting on, making it impossible for advertisers to determine whether they were getting value for their money.
Musk insisted that paid verification was the best way to combat bots and was obliged to move forward with the takeover under legal threat from Twitter. According to his 1 November Twitter thread, it is “essential to defeat spam/scam” to give paid-for verified accounts preference in responses, mentions, and searches. This is likely based on the assumption that a bot account would not pay for a checkmark and would hence be less prominent.
Musk is also determined to lessen Twitter’s reliance on advertising, something he has already succeeded in doing with a botched Blue relaunch in November that resulted in a wave of impostor accounts, which in turn caused an advertiser exodus (some advertisers had also voiced concerns about moderation standards after the takeover).
90% of Twitter’s $5 billion (£4 billion) in annual revenue, according to the most recent set of reports, came from advertising. Musk previously stated that this year’s revenue is expected to be less than $3 billion. With personnel numbers reduced by roughly 75% to 1,500, costs have also been drastically reduced. According to Musk, this has prevented the company from going bankrupt. The platform is thought to have between 600,000 and 635,000 Blue users, which translates to around $5 million or more in monthly revenue, but if advertisers do not return in force, he will need more.
Some users may decide to pay up if they lose their verified status. Travis Brown, a software developer who counts Twitter Blue memberships, estimates that there have been as many as 635,000 signups as of late, up from 550,000 to 585,000 at the beginning of the month.
Elon Musk tweeted that Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity. You can see below:
Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
Twitter must, however, wait and hope that this action does not harm trust, a vital but intangible resource. Musk needs to create a long-lasting structure if he wants to replace the feudal order. Thousands of accounts lost their ticks on Thursday, including journalists and pundits. You can see the post of Elon Musk, Twitter CEO: Will He Resign As CEO Of Twitter When He Gets An Alternative?
“Twitter’s approach may help its business, but it won’t assist people in identifying who or what is worth listening to, and the danger is that it will ultimately degrade trust, which is critical for long-term sustainability,” says Nic Newman, a senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.