Multiple reports late Sunday suggest that Twitter will soon begin charging a monthly fee of between $5 and $20 for an account holder to display a blue verification badge.
The coveted checkmark is awarded to users with accounts that Twitter defines as “authentic, remarkable and active”, and gives followers the assurance that the account is genuine.
The decision to start charging a fee to display the brand could be one of the first major changes enacted by the new owner Elon Muskwho last week took control of the social media company in a deal worth $44 billion.
the tech site Platformer said Twitter is “seriously considering” asking verified users to pay for the verification badge by subscribing to Twitter Blue, a service that offers premium features that currently costs $5 per month.
“Executives at the new Elon Musk-owned company have spent the weekend discussing the move and making plans related to the project, according to two people familiar with the matter,” Platformer said in its report.
Also Sunday night TheVerge reported that the fee to keep a verification badge, or even receive one in the future, could soon cost up to $20 per month.
The tech site suggests the change could also be linked to Twitter Blue, with people wanting to use the required verification badge to join the premium service. The report said that the monthly fee for Twitter Blue could be increased to $20, though it added that the price is subject to change.
The Verge said it had spoken to “people familiar with the matter” and had also seen internal correspondence related to the matter.
In an apparent attempt to force change, and in what some may see as a sign of things to come as the company adjusts to life under its new owner, the workers tasked with making the potential changes have been given said they should do it before November 7 or face losing their job.
Suggesting the situation is moving at a rapid pace, Musk tweeted on Sunday: “The entire verification process is being revamped right now,” though he declined to elaborate.
Musk has long been known to be interested in increasing Twitter’s revenue through subscriptions. In May, when the billionaire businessman had already signaled his intention to acquire Twitter, Musk said subscriptions would become a bigger revenue driver than they have been. The goal is for them to account for $10 billion of annual revenue in a projected figure by 2028, with advertising grossing an estimated $12 billion. This would see ad revenue fall from 90% of total revenue in 2020 to 45% in 2028, indicating how important Musk sees subscriptions as a future revenue driver.
The new owner has also talked about charging business and government accounts for continued use of Twitter, though details about this potential move have yet to be made public.