Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has announced the platform’s coveted ‘blue tick’ will now cost users $8 (£7) a month, and criticised the current system as “bulls***”.
In a tweet himself, Musk said: “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bulls***.
“Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”
Musk said the cost would be “adjusted by country, proportionate to purchasing power parity”.
For the new monthly fee, Musk also said, users will get “priority in replies, mentions and searches” as well as the ability to post long videos and audio clips.
And he offered subscribers a paywall bypass from “publishers willing to work with us”.
The charge would give the platform a “revenue stream to reward content creators”, he said.
The blue tick, next to a person’s Twitter account, lets users know that an account of public interest is authentic.
To receive the blue badge, Twitter stipulates, your account must be “authentic, notable, and active”. There is a six-step verification process.
Last month, Musk completed his high-profile $44bn (£38bn) buyout of the social media platform, with a self-proclaimed remit to ensure everyone’s timeline becomes the ultimate home of free speech.
The announcement came after Twitter’s advertising chief, Sarah Personette, tweeted she had joined a number of executives parting ways with the platform.
Ms Personette, who was chief customer officer, said she had resigned her post, and was following other colleagues out the door, including former chief executive Parag Agrawal and chief financial officer Ned Segal, whom Musk fired last week.
Her resignation comes at a time when advertisers and users have mulled whether Musk will reverse the ban on Twitter of former US President Donald Trump – and possibly lead to an increase in divisive rhetoric on the platform.
Already, experts have noticed hateful content has skyrocketed since Musk closed his acquisition of Twitter.
Use of the n-word has increased by nearly 500% on the platform, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute, which identifies “cyber-social threats.”
For more on science and technology, explore the future with Sky News at Big Ideas Live 2022.
Find out more and book tickets here