Twitter users furious over plans to charge $20 a month for verification and remove ticks if you don't pay up

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(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

A staggering new report from inside Twitter claims that the company, now under the leadership of Elon Musk, is planning to charge $20 a month for a new Twitter Blue subscription that would include verification, with verified users who don't sign up for the service losing their coveted blue checkmarks.

A new report from The Verge says that Twitter staff have been given a deadline of November 7 "to launch the feature or they will be fired." 

The report states that a new initiative plans "to change Twitter Blue, the company’s optional, $4.99 a month subscription that unlocks additional features, into a more expensive subscription that also verifies users." 

A substantial cost

The new Twitter Blue sub will reportedly cost $19.99, and "verified users would have 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark." 

Verification on Twitter remains a bit of a broken mess (believe me I've tried), and Musk had hopefully tweeted on Sunday that "the whole verification process is being revamped right now", however, it's unlikely anyone thought a revamped process would involve being charged $240 a year for the privilege. 

A fresh report Monday further states that Twitter is planning to lay off 25% of its workforce "to start, around 7,000 employees across "almost all departments."

The Verge's report follows a Platformer article earlier in the day hinting at Twitter's plans to charge for verification. "Twitter is strongly considering making its users pay to remain verified on the service, Platformer has learned. If the project makes it forward, users would have to subscribe to Twitter Blue at $4.99 a month or lose their badges," Casey Newton stated Sunday. 

Understandably Twitter went into meltdown at the news, with a multitude of users saying they have no interest in paying for the privilege of verification and others stating they would be happy to forego their checkmarks rather than pay up. 

The news also raised the clear hurdle of Twitter Blue's limited availability, the service currently only operates in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Musk ally Jason Calacanis, whom Axios reports has been brought on board as a contractor inside the company, Tweeted overnight to ask how much users would be willing to pay to get verified and receive a blue checkmark on Twitter. 

Of the 608,000 people who voted, almost 80% said they wouldn't pay. Musk responded to the poll stating simply, "interesting."

"It's a terrible idea," social media consultant and expert Matt Navarra told iMore. "Making a verification badge available to anyone completely destroys the value and purpose of verification. Twitter accounts publishing misinformation and spam would be legitimized and aided with the option to buy verification. Twitter should be paying its top creators (who are often verified accounts) to publish great content on its platform, not charge them for the privilege." Navarra says that while many users may pay for verification or to keep their blue ticks, there will be many more who will not, and that the move could generate ill will that could cost Elon and Twitter in the long run. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9