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Feedback Appreciated, Pay $8: Elon Musk Mocks Celebs & Leaders Grousing Over Blue Tick Fee

Elon Musk has announced plans to increase the revenue Twitter generates from subscriptions, to reduce the firm's dependence on advertisers.

Written By
sagar kar

Image: AP

Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter and announced plans to increase revenue generated from subscriptions to reduce the firm's dependence on advertisers, he is being criticised by politicians and other prominent people. The new Twitter owner, and the head of Tesla, SpaceX, and NeuraLink, seems unfazed and is having fun with the criticism he is receiving. Elon Musk's new plan is to make people who have a verification badge pay for it, around $8-$20 per month. "Spoiler alert: You get what you pay for," tweeted Musk on November 2. 

Musk explained his rationale by tweeting on November 1 that "Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is b*****it. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month." (sic)

"Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity. You will also get: - Priority in replies, mentions & search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam - Ability to post long video & audio - Half as many ads and paywall bypass for publishers willing to work with us. This will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators. There will be a secondary tag below the name for someone who is a public figure, which is already the case for politicians," he added. 

Author Stephen King's refusal to pay and Musk's reply to him

In the time he spent between managing Tesla and SpaceX, Musk used his Twitter account to get into an argument with quite a few people, other than sharing videos of SpaceX's successful launch and landing of Falcon Heavy. Prior to the announcement, author Stephen King said that he won't be paying $20 per month for maintaining his blue verification badge. "$20 a month to keep my blue check? F**k that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron," wrote the author on Twitter, to which Musk replied, "We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?" 

Politician attempts to mock Musk, ends up getting Mocked

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat politician who has become popular on social media sites by bashing people who developed those social media sites wrote, "Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that “free speech” is actually a $8/mo subscription plan". The politician's attempt was to mock Musk but the latter ended up mocking her by replying, "Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8 ''.

As if that wasn't enough, Musk went on to mock the politician by sharing an image of how she charges people $58 for a regular sweatshirt with her name on it.  After knowing that the politician complaining about $8 per month charges people $58 for a sweatshirt with her name on it, the singer Unkonfined replied to Musk's tweet by writing, "That’s a lot of verified badges right there," and drew laugh from other Twitter users. 

Why are some people complaining so much about $8 per month? 

On the other hand, angel investor Naval Ravikant wrote, "Charging for the blue check moves it from a status symbol to a utilitarian one. It elicits shrieks because it’s more about leveling the playing field than making money." It appears Musk shares this view, which is perhaps why he used the phrase "Twitter's current lords & peasants system".

David Sacks, the head of venture capital firm Craft ventures wrote, "The entitled elite is not mad that they have to pay $8/month. They’re mad that anyone can pay $8/month." Musk retweeted Sacks' tweet, highlighting that according to him, the people complaining about $8 per month are unhappy that they will loose the status that the blue tick mark badge offered, they will lose the feeling that they are "special".

The founder of ShapeShift explained the rationale for charging users by saying, "Let's remember that @elonmusk charging $8 for premium Twitter experience means Twitter becomes the product again, instead of you. And if $8 is too much, you're free to remain as the product." Musk responded to the tweet by saying 'accurate'. 

Has Twitter become non-partisan?

In just a few days since Musk's acquisition, Twitter has changed a lot. Earlier, Twitter used to 'fact-check' just politicians who belong to the Republican party in America and any other conservative party around the world. 'Fact-check' was presented as something neutral but it seldom was, as politicians whose worldview aligned with senior executives of Twitter, never got 'fact-checked' so to say, irrespective of what claims they were making. In fact, such ideological bias led to many people pointing out that Twitter is biased, which motivated Musk to buy the platform and fire the senior executives who were responsible for the ideological bias.

Twitter has now started fact-checking in non-partisaned manner. On Wednesday, the White House tweeted how senior citizens are getting the biggest social security increase in 10 years. This statement was taking out the context and attempting to spin a negative trend into a positive trend. Twitter added the context by mentioning the facts, which were that - senior citizens "will receive a large social security benefits increase due to the annual cost of living adjustment, which is based on the inflation rate. President Nixon in 1972 signed into law automatic benefits adjustment tied to the consumer price index (CPI)". 

So, the social security seniors receive is rising because inflation is at a 40-year high, and a law that was signed by Nixon back in 1972, mandates that social security benefits rise if inflation rises, so that people who rely on those benefits don't suffer due to the spike in inflation. White House ended up deleting its own Tweet.

When other users pointed this out to Musk, he said, "The system is working." In reply to another tweet that was appreciating the fact-check, Musk wrote, "The community notes feature is awesome. Our goal is to make Twitter the most accurate source of information on Earth, without regard to political affiliation." 

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