Elon Musk orders Twitter staff to work 24/7 on ‘blue tick’ charge

Elon Musk has ordered Twitter staff to work around the clock to enforce users to keep their ‘blue tick’ verified, as the social media company’s new owner seeks to put his mark on the business.

New surge in subscription revenue comes as Twitter braces for potential advertiser backlash, Musk considers relax content moderation controls. On Monday, the Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), a marketing industry group set up by the World Federation of Advertisers, warned Musk that keeping Twitter free of inappropriate material was “non-negotiable.”

Advertising accounted for more than 90% of Twitter’s revenue in its last published figures as a public company. Prior to Musk’s arrival, efforts were made to persuade users to pay $4.99 a month to subscribe to Twitter Blue, which gives them access to exclusive features including an edit button. .

Musk is said to want to raise the price of Twitter Blue and make it a condition of having a verified profile, signified by a blue tick next to a user’s name, on the social media platform. Hundreds of thousands of Twitter users have been verified, including major brands and corporate accounts, as well as celebrities and journalists. However, Twitter Blue is currently only available to users in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Employees at Twitter worked “24/7” to deliver on Musk’s vision for verification, according to two senior executives. One person added that teams were told it was of the “most extreme severity”.

Musk said in a tweet on Sunday that “the whole verification process is being overhauled right now.”

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

Someone Familiar With Musk’s Thought Before Completing $44 Billion purchase of twitter said several pricing options were discussed, including $9.99 and $14.99 per month, adding that different user groups may be asked to test pricing models.

According to technology news site The Verge, Twitter is plans to charge $19.99 one month for the new Twitter Blue subscription, while the Platformer blog announced that it will remain at $4.99 per month.

In a Twitter poll led by Jason Calacanis, a Musk adviser, more than 80% of the more than 1.2 million respondents said they would not pay to be verified, while 11% said they would pay $5 a month and 5.5% would pay $15. Calacanis, a venture capitalist who has backed Musk’s Twitter offering and who “hangs out on Twitter a bit,” said the company will be “focused on identity and security in the coming months.” .

A Twitter official said the new verification model “opens up another vector of abuse, which I highly doubt we’re prepared for given such a delay.” Critics say brands or individuals who refuse to pay to retain their blue tick will be vulnerable to identity theft.

Spam or fake accounts have been a sore point for Twitter – one of the reasons Musk gave for trying to pull out of the takeover deal over the summer was that he thought the company had misrepresented the number of these profiles on the platform.

In April, Twitter revealed that it had miscalculated its audience figures by 2 million users for around three years due to an “error”. Twitter has always maintained that fake or spam accounts represent less than 6% of its monetizable daily active users.

GARM, which was created in response to marketers’ concerns that their ads were appearing alongside toxic content on social media, said in a statement Monday that it was “monitoring” Twitter’s actions after the takeover. .

“Platforms must be safe for everyone and suitable for advertisers,” the body said. “For advertisers, this is non-negotiable – and we expect Twitter to deliver on its commitments.”

Meanwhile, Twitter morale is low among some staffers as Musk implements mass layoff plans.

Musk spoke with Twitter staff in June ahead of the takeover, warning the company needed to “get back healthy” and undergo “headcount and expense rationalization.”

After firing several top executives as soon as the deal closed last week, Musk fired Twitter’s entire board, leaving the billionaire as sole director, according to a regulatory filing. He has now surrounded himself with a team including his personal attorney Alex Spiro, trusted venture capitalists and Tesla employees, who are helping him figure out how to run the business.

Over the weekend, Musk asked select senior executives and advisers to draw up lists of who should stay and who should be fired. A senior executive says a Tesla employee asked them to make a list of people to lay off, trying to cut remote workers, strategy and operations staff, and engineers who don’t produce a lot of code .

Dakota LeRoy, who describes herself as a product designer on Twitter, wrote on the platform: “Pumpkin sugar cookie ghosts and Jack-o-lanterns, but the scariest thing this Halloween is job insecurity.”

Video is also among the new features Musk is mulling over. On Monday, he posted a poll asking “Bring back Vine?”, Twitter’s shorthand video app that the company shut down in 2016.

It is considered by many to be the forerunner of TikTok, which has over a billion users, compared to Twitter’s over 200 million. TikTok’s exponential growth over the past two years has seen social media platforms, including Meta and YouTube, roll out short video offerings to try and emulate its model.

“What could we do to make it better than TikTok? Musk asked in a follow-up comment on the poll.

Additional reporting by Arjun Neil Alim in London

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *