Welcome to the “Elon Channel” where it’s “All Elon, All The Time.” (Hopefully this will not be true tomorrow!)
My Sunday essay was about What Twitter Sells, a primer about the core product of every social media platform (including Twitter). I wrote it so that you could draw your own conclusions about whether Elon is smart enough to know he’s not smart enough.
This morning’s nonsense about charging for Twitter verification offers greater support for the Elon is “cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs” theory of the case. Let’s review.
According to various news media, Elon has given Twitter staffers until November 7 to figure out a way to make it mandatory for verified users to subscribe to a fully reimagined Twitter Blue service for $20/month. (It’s $5/month now and has nothing to do with verification status.) Verified users who refuse to pay will lose their verification 90 days after the new service goes live.
What’s the problem? In no particular order…
Verified tweets from dark web bots that used stolen credit card info to subscribe will now be verified until they are reported. This will immediately end any level of trust in the verification system. If you’re already investing millions in misinformation campaigns, a $20/month fee for a verified bot account is a bargain. In practice, it will be viewed as a godsend: “Elon verifies that our misinformation is true for only $20/month!” What could possibly go wrong?
Moving on, Twitter verification is supposed to “verify” real accounts; it was never meant to be a status symbol. At $20/month, it will give status seekers a way to buy their way into heaven. Regular tweets will all become suspect. After the policy change, everyone will have to assume that every unverified user they don’t personally know is a bot (or worse).
To work at all, the pay-for-play new verification system (as described) would have to be applied to everyone on the platform. In other words, Twitter would need to become a subscription service… but that’s not what’s going to happen. Elon will do what he does, and Twitter will either survive or it won’t.
Will you pay $20/month for the new Twitter Blue? Asked a bit differently: Will you pay $20/month for Twitter Blue, or will you just stop caring about or using the platform?
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.