Elon Musk’s first order of business after completing the acquisition of Twitter appears to be an increase in the cost of the social media platform’s premium subscription package known as Twitter Blue, which will reportedly change from $4.99 to $19.99 a month.
In addition, paying for a Twitter Blue subscription will be mandatory to maintain a “verified” status on the platform. According to a report from The Verge that cited multiple internal documents, the developing team that is working on this update has been given a deadline of next Sunday to make this happen or otherwise they will be fired.
Verified users will reportedly have 90 days to subscribe to Twitter Blue or they will lose their valuable blue check mark – a token that has always been considered a sign of being an elite member of the platform.
Celebrities and Influencers Appear to Disagree with Musk’s Mandatory Subscription
In a tweet published a couple of days ago, Musk asserted that the team is working on revamping the entire verification process, which may include a new procedure to obtain a blue badge.
The founder of SpaceX reportedly brought engineers from Tesla (TSLA) to advise him and the Twitter product team on the updates and changes that need to be made on the platform.
Musk has repeatedly stated that he aims to improve Twitter’s financial performance by increasing subscription revenues.
Some detractors of the measure state that those who opt not to subscribe to Twitter Blue to keep their blue check mark may be impersonated by impostors who would attempt to confuse the community and use the accounts to commit fraud and scam people.
In addition, some top influencers and prominent artists and personalities have disagreed publicly with Musk’s intentions to charge them for staying verified. Stephen King, the writer of some of the world’s most popular horror stories, stated that he will leave the platform if he is forced to pay $20 a month.
$20 a month to keep my blue check? Fuck that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 31, 2022
Musk replied to King by stating that the company needs to pay the bills somehow and asked the writer if he would agree with paying at least $8 a month. However, King replied to a user that the issue at hand was not the money. “It’s the principal of the thing”, the artist commented.
Massive Layoffs at Twitter Could Soon Make the Headlines
Before Musk’s arrival, Twitter discretionally assigned blue badges to characters and organizations when their accounts were considered “of public interest”. The typical candidates to receive a blue check market included government agencies, well-established media outlets, celebrities, and top brands.
Users can submit a request to be verified as long as they belonged to any of these groups. Moreover, Twitter also demanded that the account must be considered authentic, notable, and active.
Apart from this first relevant change, Musk is reportedly looking to lay off a significant portion of the firm’s staff. Rumors initially pointed to a reduction of 75% in Twitter’s personnel. However, Musk discredited the reports but only their magnitude, not the fact itself.
As a result of Twitter’s takeover, the social media company will be onboarding a significant amount of debt that was used to finance the deal. The figure could be around $13 billion and the resulting annual interest charges could range from $400 to 800 million depending on the interest rate Musk managed to secure.
Meanwhile, during the first six months of 2022, the company produced operating losses of $471.6 million. Personnel costs are among the highest at Twitter and that could be the reason why Musk is aiming to reduce the company’s staff to make ends meet.
By the end of 2021, Twitter had 7,500 full-time employees. If Musk moves forward with a plan to lay off half of the firm’s workforce that could cause significant disruptions in the work environment as it will result in more than 3,000 people being laid off at once.
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