Twitter has verified accounts for some time, but the company doesn’t currently charge for the service. It is rumored that Musk’s idea is to charge a fee in the region of $20 a month for the verification, as per the New York Post.
Monetizing Twitter Verification
The idea is that people would have to pay to get verified on the platform, giving them a blue checkmark next to their name and making them more visible to other users.
This caused a lot of backlash because it would effectively create two tiers of users on the platform – those who can afford to pay for verification and those who can’t. It would also likely lead to more spam and fake accounts as people try to game the system.
Why all Twitter Accounts should be Verified
All Twitter accounts should be verified because they allow users to know that the account is legitimate. This is especially important for public figures, organizations, and journalists who need to ensure that their audience can trust the information they are sharing. Still, with the emergence of personal brands, Twitter users with hundreds of thousands of followers have to report and block multiple fake accounts daily.
These fake accounts are used to scam users out of their hard-earned money, and calls on Twitter to do something about it have fallen on deaf ears. NFT Today Magazine recently uncovered a massive Opensea Phishing Scam where fake profiles were used to steal thousands of NFTs worth millions of dollars. This happened because users could not distinguish between the verified and unverified Opensea accounts.
Why Monetizing Twitter Verification is a Bad Idea
Twitter’s verification process is supposed to be a way to vouch for the authenticity of high-profile users on the platform. But in recent years, the blue checkmark has become a status symbol, and instead of verifying one’s identity, it has become elitist.
Elon Musk’s latest idea is to monetize verification, allowing people to pay to verify their accounts. This would be a terrible idea. Self-verification of identity should be a right, not a feature or privilege, and something users would easily be able to accomplish via a photo upload process (like Bumble) or using Blockchain technology and allowing users to pay a small, nominal, once-off fee to mint their profiles.
Verification shouldn’t be reserved for those who can afford it or those that ‘deserve’ it.
Russian Hackers, Bots, and Trolls Oh My…
Not only would it likely lead to more spam and fake accounts, but it would also undermine the trustworthiness of Twitter as a whole. Worse yet, it could set a precedent for other social media platforms to start charging for verified accounts, further exacerbating the digital divide. We urge Elon Musk and Twitter to rethink this plan and instead focus on ways to make Twitter a more inclusive platform for all users.
Rocco Strydom is the Founder of SGM Holdings – finance, energy and media and is the host of the
SGM podcast based in South Africa