Twitter has relaunched a service called Twitter Blue, where users can pay a monthly fee for a blue badge, along with the ability to edit tweets and upload high-quality video.
However, Apple users will be charged more.
The says the company the revamped service will cost $8 a month online, or $11 a month if purchased through an app on iPhones and iPads, with in-app transactions processed through the company’s App Store, which typically charges a 30% commission.
The price new levels follow sharp words from Musk leveled against Apple over the so-called “Apple tax”, a long-standing pain point for app developers and cause of concern for regulators worldwide who have seen the tax as excessive and financially damaging to Apple’s rivals. Musk has since claimed his dispute with Apple was resolved after a meeting with the company’s CEO, Tim Cook at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino.
Android users can access Twitter Blue by purchasing it through a web browser, according to Esther Crawford, director of product management at Twitter.
Gold and gray added to blue as new checks
The company announced that it will introduce a color-coded system for people, companies and governments.
Being “verified” will now actually involve a verification process, or as Crawford put it in a tweet this past weekend, “a review step before applying a blue badge to an account as one of our new steps to combat impersonation.”
This is a facelift for the company. Twitter’s first attempt to include the blue ticks as part of its subscription program sparked chaos. Many took advantage of the opportunity to purchase a “verification” and flooded the site with fake accounts. Advertisers, politicians and even Musk himself were imitated. The chaos forced the billionaire to pause the service after just two days.
Musk now says there will be three colors for purchases: gold for companies; gray for governments and a blue check for prominent people, including celebrities.
When Musk first conceived the plan to let people buy the once-coveted and limited blue ticks, he was met with internal opposition from Twitter’s trust and security experts. They feared the move would be weaponized by those seeking to spread disinformation, including repressive regimes hoping to spread propaganda.
Musk ignored them. Twitter’s trust and security team, like others at the company, has been gutted through layoffs and layoffs.
Musk sees Twitter Blue as part of his mission to monetize the platform in ways other than advertising, which accounts for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue. But since Musk’s chaotic reign began in late October, major advertisers have fled in droves.
The company has long struggled to expand its service the way larger competitors like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have, and even before Musk took over, the company’s advertising business had been far from robust.
Musk has floated bankruptcy as a possible alternative to Twitter.
Twitter: Users lose check temporarily when profile changes
Musk has said that before an account can receive verification, it will be manually verified, though he has not explained how the process would work, but the company said that if a subscriber changes their handle, display name or photo, they will temporarily lose their chin to their profile’s authenticity is confirmed.
Twitter has not responded to questions about whether it still has the resources to take on such a demanding task after laying off more than half of the company’s employees.
“With a reduced workforce, it remains to be seen whether it will be possible to prevent fraud, impersonation and fraud with their new identity verification methodology,” Rachel Tobac, CEO of cybersecurity firm SocialProof Security, previously told NPR. “Fraudsters will quickly figure out how to overwhelm or manipulate the identity verification system to be ‘authenticated’ as an entity they are not.”
Twitter, which no longer has a communications staff, did not respond to a request for comment.