Elon Musk draws criticism for idea of ​​monthly fee for Twitter verification

Elon Musk’s Twitter Critics The acquiring company said any scheme to charge users for authentication could make the information on the site less trustworthy and more vulnerable to manipulation — thereby devaluing the company.

On Sunday, the Platformer, Casey Newton’s tech-focused newsletter, reported on the idea of ​​charging a monthly fee by user name for blue verification checkmarks.Currently, well-known users can receive the verification they provide for free meet a range of qualifications.

Musk has yet to confirm that the fee will be increased on Sunday tweet“The entire verification process is now being revised,” on his own verified account.

On the same day, he gave more oxygen to the idea by responding to a poll by tech investor and friend Jason Calacanis, who asked how much users were willing to pay for verification. More than 80% of respondents said they would not pay.

Earlier on Tuesday, Musk responded to author Stephen King’s post, saying he threaten If he is charged a monthly fee of $20 for his blue check, quit the service. “If I do, I’ll leave like Enron,” Kim wrote.

“We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter can’t rely entirely on advertisers,” Musk Reply. “How about $8?”

Calacanis, who helped Musk raise money for the acquisition, joked in his Twitter bio that he was the company’s chief meme officer. debate Expanded validation will improve the site.

“Getting more people verified on Twitter while removing the army of bots is the fastest way to make the platform safer and more accessible to all,” he said. tweet on Monday.

“These aren’t the *only* ways to make Twitter safer and more usable, but they will have a quick and massive impact,” he added.

Jeff Jarvis, a prolific Twitter user who teaches at the City University of New York’s School of Journalism and studies how information travels in the digital age, worries that such a plan could backfire. He was part of a group of voices who said the idea was a bad idea for both users and the company.

“Every hoaxer, marketer and scumbag propagandist buys the blue checkmark, so totally demeans the blue checkmark. Musk won’t have anything to sell anymore,” Jarvis told NBC News, adding that he Refers to the possibility of checks being turned into pay-to-play options.

About a quarter of U.S. adults use Twitter, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, and the impact may be even greater: Conversations on the service form the backdrop for the political and cultural debates that dominate the news cycle every day. Much of its value comes from its newsworthiness—the statements made by corporations, celebrities, elected officials and the journalists who cover them. And that value relies heavily on the verification system the company has built.

James Ball, global editor for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, also opposes the paid verification scheme. In an article for Britain’s New Politician on Monday, he recalled being impersonated by a fraudulent Twitter account before he could be verified.

“If well-known accounts don’t have a free way to confirm that they are genuine, fake accounts posing as banks, government agencies or well-known personalities are more likely to deceive innocent users and spread fake news,” he wrote, adding that the lack of limited And free verification will turn Twitter into a “hacker’s paradise.”

Others said they would welcome the change.

“I think it’s a good idea, and it’s going to pay off,” Twitter Scott Gallowaya marketing professor at New York University and an active user of the site.

“If all the money went to charity, I would,” musician John Michie tweet.

Some said they would consider paying to use Twitter, but doing so specifically for verification doesn’t make sense.

Marcus Hutchins, a UK security researcher with a reputation on the platform, Say On the platform, he would “happily pay for Twitter,” but added, “If it’s to highlight well-known accounts, then allowing people to buy it would undermine that.”

There are reportedly at least 400,000 verified users on the platform. The company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday, Launched subscription service for $4.99 per month Receive certain benefits in June 2021, but not verification.

The potential verification plan is the latest in Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, which has drawn a flurry of attention.

The spread of misinformation in the age of social media continues to reshape cultural and political conversations, with many observers warning of dire consequences if left unchecked.

Musk himself is fanning the flames, most recently tweeting a link and then over the weekend removing a link to a known conspiracy website that posted about last week’s targeting of California House Speaker Nancy Pello Unfounded claims of attack by Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi.

Questions remain about how the subscription verification program will affect officials and government agencies, including election offices, that use the service to quickly distribute critical information to the public.

Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat representing a district north of Los Angeles, said he did not think he would pay to maintain his verified identity, arguing that such a deal could amount to a threat to the public eye. people commit extortion. .

“He was really saying I better buy a blue check or I’ll look like a liar,” he said. “This is not an attempt to recover costs. This is an attempt to turn fraud prevention into a profit center. Just because he overpaid for Twitter, doesn’t mean I should overpay for verification.”

Some have pointed out that Twitter’s verification system is also a measure of the company’s self-preservation. Tony La Russa, then manager of St. Petersburg. For example, Louis Cardinals sued the service in 2009 when a user created a fake account in his name. The following month, Twitter rolled out a beta version of the Verified Accounts feature.

“These checks increase the credibility and authenticity of expertise in the Twitter ecosystem,” Jarvis said. “If Twitter was a bad experience, people wouldn’t use it, and advertisers wouldn’t want to be there.”

Musk recently tried to reassure advertisers that Twitter would remain an attractive destination for them.

It’s unclear how much verified users will be charged for the company’s bottom-line services.

Sarah T. Roberts, a professor of information studies at UCLA and a former Twitter employee, said she didn’t think it would help the company’s finances significantly.

“It’s a really weird place to monetize,” she said. “It’s a little bit blind to the value that certain high profile users bring to Twitter. It enriches the experience, are you going to ask them to pay for the privilege?”

When she was at Twitter, Roberts was part of a team that helped the company manage health information. She leaves in early 2022 less than a year later. She said she came to appreciate the research and work that went into the corporate system, It would be foolish to change things without doing research or to do so under the influence of outsiders who know nothing about the company.

“Twitter has many, many people working on things like user interface design and innovation, testing it with user groups, and people who work exclusively with VIT — very important Twitter users,” she said.

“That’s not to say the new leadership shouldn’t reconsider some of these, but it’s a really weird way to randomly ask your flattering fanbase on Twitter about these complex designs and monetization schemes.”

Roberts said she’s heard from many of her former colleagues still at Twitter who are distressed by the prospect of the company’s mission changing so quickly and potentially at random.

“It was a nightmare anyway,” she said. “Everyone is trying to get through this.”

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