Musk's new debut for Twitter Blue checkmarks
Elon Musk's latest attempt to get Twitter users to pay for perks began rolling out on Monday, seeking to avoid an impersonation debacle that scuttled the platform's verification system last month.
The relaunch of a Twitter Blue subscription tier comes as billionaire entrepreneur Musk tries to reduce the platform's dependence on advertisers, who have proven averse to spending money on marketing messages in an online forum where nasty or abusive content is allowed to flourish.
Paying to be Blue
The subscription service costs US$8 per month for users accessing Twitter on the web and US$11 if signing up on an Apple device, the tech firm said in a series of tweets.
The price bump appeared due to Musk's anger at service fees charged by Apple at the App Store, which is the lone gateway onto iPhones or iPads.
In order to subscribe to Blue, Twitter accounts must be at least 90 days old and be associated with a confirmed phone number, according to the tech platform recently acquired by Musk for US$44 billion.
Twitter said in a post that people could subscribe to Blue online in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, with "plans to expand."
There was no mention of when Blue would be available for Twitter users relying on smartphones powered by Google-backed Android software.
Individual subscribers will get the iconic blue verification checkmarks as symbols of authenticity.
The checkmarks will be gold for businesses and gray for government organizations, it added.
Posts by Blue subscribers will "rocket" to the top of replies, mentions, and searches at Twitter since they will be deemed higher priority than tweets of non-paying users, a list of benefits promised.
Those paying for Blue were assured they will see half as many ads as other users; be able to upload longer videos, and have the ability to retract a Tweet after it is sent but before it's visible to others on Twitter.
They will also get more options for customizing the app, and get early access to new features that Twitter is experimenting with, the company said in a post.
Checkmarks given in the past to Twitter users to indicate "active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest" verified by the platform will apparently remain for now.
Blue checkmarks will indicate either an old account verified under pre-Musk criteria or that users subscribe to Twitter Blue, the company said.
Verification checkmarks were previously free at Twitter, but reserved for organizations and public figures in an attempt to avoid impersonation and misinformation.