Elon Says Revised $8 Blue Twitter ‘Verification’ Program Will Resume November 29
Elon Musk’s $8 “verification” program, his first major user initiative since the app took over, has caused a wide range of problems including widespread identity theft, internal confusion over the how to apply the rules of the platform, potential legal problems. , and even stock market impacts for some spoofed companies.
Which is largely in line with what everyone said would happen — even Twitter’s own staff, who briefed Musk on the potential concerns ahead of the release.
But Musk pushed ahead anyway, before finally agreeing to put the rollout on hold just days after launch due to the aforementioned issues.
Twitter also added a new “official” checkmark to combat identity theft, then removed itthen added again. Which is pretty telling of the current state of the app — and now, with a few revisions, Elon has set a new date for the relaunch of his $8 checkmark program:
Blue Verified punting to November 29 to make sure it’s rock solid
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2022
Where the same issues will inevitably abound again, unless there’s some new process that includes, like, actual identity verification in the setup, or maybe some other kind of tick to differentiate it from the current one, which is provided to notable, verified users in the app.
So far, it doesn’t look like either of those things are being considered for Musk’s’big leveler‘ program.
Musk sees Twitter’s blue checkmarks as a kind of status marker, which separates the “haves” from the “have nots” in the app. And while I’m not sure anyone else sees them that way, Musk seems to believe that with this he can eventually convince millions of users to pay $96 a year for a badge in the app, which then allow it to move on to the next phase of the plan, cracking down on bot profiles – because with so many people signing up, the only ones without blue ticks will, eventually, all be bots.
Even though there’s no way, based on its current construction, that it, conceptually, will work.
Because millions of people aren’t going to sign up to pay $8 a month for a little graphic next to their name, which won’t mean anything once everyone can buy one.
Of course, some people will pay. Elon fans, those who’ve always wanted a blue checkmark – there’s a percentage of Twitter users who will clearly pay $8 for the blue checkmark. Indeed, according to reports, 140,000 Twitter users signed up for the program in the first few days of its availability, which is more than the number of users who signed up for Twitter Blue (100,000), the platform’s initial subscription offer.
It’s promising, isn’t it? 140,000 registrations in a few days. This shows that Elon is probably onto a winner. Right?
The fact is, 140k equals 0.06% of Twitter’s total user base. That’s still a lot in a few days, but it’s nowhere near the amount Elon would need to facilitate this next step, using it as a way to identify bot profiles versus real people via checkmarks in the application.
It’s also not enough to meet Elon’s plan to make 50% of Twitter’s revenue from subscriptions.
Twitter generated $1.18 billion in revenue in the second quarter, which means Elon needs to earn at least $590 million in subscribers, per quarter, to hit his goal. That equates to around 24.6 million paid subscribers signed up for its $8 verification plan. Which is a lot – again, the original Twitter Blue only ever had 100,000 subscribers, and while 140,000 new subscribers in just a few days, in limited release, sounds positive, it basically needs 175x to even reach its benchmark of 50%. .
And for this to work as a marker of bots versus humans, it’s again way higher than that number. You’d assume Musk would need something like 75% of Twitter users (178 million), or potentially more, to tune in for this to be a clear indicator of real people versus fake ones.
I seriously doubt that 178 million people are going to pay to use the app, when they could just use any other social app for free.
But then again, maybe Elon has some new stuff coming to light that sweetens the deal – while he’s also threatened to reduce the reach of non-paying Twitter users as a way to force people to pay.
But the majority of Twitter users never tweet anyway, so that probably won’t work either. But again, it’s impossible to judge until you see what’s next and what improvements Twitter is looking to make ahead of the re-release.
Although there is this:
With the new version, changing your verified name will cause the checkmark to be lost until the name is confirmed by Twitter to meet the terms of service.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 15, 2022
As a reminder, Twitter blocked all verified users from changing their names last week in response to many people changing their usernames to specifically poke fun at Musk, as well as other brands and celebrities.
Now, in order to combat impersonation, Twitter will implement a process to verify changed usernames before letting you continue. Which is a good move that should solve at least some of the recent spoofing issues – although who, exactly, is going to check and approve this is also interesting, given that Elon has fired the majority of staff and managers. subcontractors of Twitter.
In summary, I still don’t think Elon’s $8 tick program is the right way to go, and I don’t think anyone on Twitter does either. But Elon also made big announcements and proclamations around the offer – I don’t see him backing down now.
Which means Twitter’s verification system will likely cause more chaos in a few weeks – but until then, we’ll have to hold back with Musk’s random public attacks on staffers and self praiseas he learns the ropes on the app.