Twitter has announced a subscription service for $7.99 a month that includes a blue check now given only to verified accounts as Elon Musk works to overhaul the platform's verification system.
In an update to Apple iOS devices available in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Twitter said users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can receive the blue check next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”
Twitter employee Esther Crawford tweeted Saturday that the “new Blue isn't live yet — the sprint to our launch continues but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time.” Verified accounts did not appear to be losing their checks so far.
It was not immediately clear when the subscription would go live. Crawford told The Associated Press in a Twitter message that it is coming “soon but it hasn't launched yet.” Twitter did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Musk tweeted Saturday in response to a question about the risk of impostors impersonating verified profiles that “Twitter will suspend the account attempting impersonation and keep the money!"
“He knows the blue check has value, and he's trying to exploit it quickly,” said Jennifer Grygiel, a social media expert and associate professor of communications at Syracuse University.
“He needs to earn the trust of the people before he can sell them anything. Why would you buy a car from a salesman that you know has essentially proved to be chaotic?” The update Twitter made to the iOS version of its app does not mention verification as part of the new blue check system. So far, the update is not available on Android devices.
Musk, who had earlier said he wants to “verify all humans” on Twitter, has floated that public figures would be identified in ways other than the blue check.
The announcement comes a day after Twitter began laying off workers to cut costs and as more companies are pausing advertising on the platform as a cautious corporate world waits to see how the platform will operate under its new owner.
About half of the company's staff of 7,500 was let go, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of safety and integrity.