Elon Musk’s plan to make Twitter profitable as fast as possible appears to transform Twitter into everything it isn’t, thereby disregarding the main reasons that have made it successful in the first place.
Instead of establishing a town square where public debate is openly discussed, he’s moving to possibly skew conversations by placing accounts that aren’t authentic that have recently been granted blue checks ahead of other feeds but not because they’re the ones who are more knowledgeable or have more popular opinions, but because they’re almost everyone who paid the $8 per month.
The first step in Musk’s penny-pinching Twitter world is the launch of “Twitter Blue,” a subscription service that charges $8 per month to verify the identity of users. As per The Newyork Times, that product will be available on the 7th of November for users from the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It’s expected that more than 400,000 verified users will enjoy a brief period during which they can retain their checks in blue.
They don’t just receive a check in the blue, Twitter documents show. They also have access to additional advantages, including publishing longer videos or ranking their responses to other tweets higher.
Beyond Twitter Blue, Musk’s strategy to transform Twitter into a business has centered around videos. He even instructed employees to research and investigate the possibility of revitalizing Vine, a short-video looping application that Twitter ended in 2016. If you’re familiar with Twitter’s history, this particular decision could raise eyebrows because it was only profitable in 2017 following the demise of investments in products such as Vine.
Another idea Musk’s team has to provide support to creators by charging charges to watch videos. Twitter is likely to receive a portion of that income based on the assumption that well-known content creators would be financially motivated to assist Musk in retaining user engagement when more content is paid for.
When Twitter started earning money from its site, CNBC reported that the secret to its success was the increase in the number of active daily users and increased revenue from advertising. In addition, Mashable revealed that income was increased through lucrative partnership agreements with Twitter and brands that broadcast live video from events.
Musk has stated for years that his motivation for buying Twitter was to bring the platform with its content moderation policy, which is to restrict speech in the sense that is permitted in the First Amendment. Many Twitter users see this as a desire by Musk to lessen moderated content, something that has been happening since he assumed control and removed content moderators from the dashboards they have to access to block restricted content.
Advertisers must consider what will happen if Twitter Blue launches next week in conjunction with The New York Times reporting that internal Twitter documents indicate how “subscribers would not need their identities authenticated to get the check mark.”
Since becoming the sole owner of Twitter, Musk has mostly been tweeting jokes amid the chaos; however, his tweets about advertisers are among his most lucrative. On Twitter, as with other social media platforms, advertising is the biggest portion of income, roughly 90 percent. So in the days when Musk’s tweets only received a few thousand views in 2019, Musk tweeted about how he felt by stating, “I hate advertising.”
Now, with Twitter Blue, Musk’s tweets indicate that he is considering the cost of verification as a way to not only get an easy cash grab from those who aren’t willing to take off their checks. However, he also said that he viewed subscriptions as a means to reduce Twitter’s dependence on advertising.