'How about $8?': Elon Musk enters bizarre bargain with irate Stephen King over blue tick pricing

Elon Musk intends to convert Twitter Blue, an optional $4.99 per month subscription, into a more expensive offering that also validates users

'How about $8?': Elon Musk enters bizarre bargain with irate Stephen King over blue tick pricing
Elon Musk received criticism from Stephen King over the proposed plan to monetize blue ticks (Michael Gonzalez, Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, reportedly intends to start charging users with verified accounts, often known as "blue checks," $20 per month to maintain their verified status. The plan has been extensively ridiculed, with many well-known verified users threatening to leave if Twitter tried to put it into action. On Monday, October 31, Stephen King joined the chorus with a damning tweet.

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"$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*ck that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” the author tweeted. Hours later, Musk essentially begged King not to quit by bargaining with him over the price, confirming the veracity of the reports.

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According to the Verge, the instruction from Musk is to convert Twitter Blue, the company's optional $4.99 per month subscription that unlocks more services, into a more expensive offering that also validates users. The new Twitter Blue subscription will cost $19.99, as of now, according to Twitter. Verified users would have 90 days to subscribe under the existing arrangement in order to keep their blue checkmark. On Sunday, October 30, it was announced to the team members that failure to launch the functionality by November 7 will result in termination.

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"We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?" Musk replied to King's tweet. "I will explain the rationale in longer form before this is implemented. It is the only way to defeat the bots & trolls,” he added.

In the months before the acquisition, Musk had stated explicitly that he planned to change the way Twitter validates accounts and manages bots. He tweeted on Sunday, October 30 that "the entire verification process is currently being revised." Many users on Twitter have expressed their strong distaste towards the change.

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Musk wants people to pay $20 per month to be able to post free content on Twitter under verified identities. There are only approximately 400,000 verified users on Twitter. If every user subscribed to the paid plan, it would bring in $96,000,000 yearly for the platform. In contrast, Musk's offer of $8 per month would only fetch $38,400,000 per annum, assuming everyone subscribes to it.

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