New Twitter owner, Elon Musk, has issued an ultimatum to the social media giant’s staff members, in his quest to launch paid verification on the app.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation and internal emails obtained by The Verge, the order is to convert Twitter Blue, the company’s $4.99 per month optional subscription that unlocks additional features, into a more expensive subscription that also validates users.
The new Twitter Blue subscription will currently cost $19.99, according to Twitter. The current proposal would give verified users 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark. Workers on the project were informed on Sunday that the feature must be released by November 7 or they risk being fired.
In the months before to his acquisition, Musk made it plain that he planned to change the way Twitter validates accounts and manages bots. He tweeted on Sunday that “The whole verification process is being revamped right now.”
The initial information that Twitter was considering charging for verification came from Platformer’s Casey Newton. By the time of publication, a Twitter spokeswoman had not responded to a request for comment.
Musk has acted rapidly to make changes at Twitter, modifying the homepage for logged-out users just three days after becoming “Chief Twit.” He’s contemplating mass layoffs of middle management and engineers who haven’t recently added to the code base with the assistance of Tesla engineers he’s hired into Twitter as consultants.
Managers have already started compiling names of staff members to lay off, and the cuts are anticipated to start this week. Since Musk assumed leadership on Thursday evening, those assigned to carry out his ideas have worked over the weekend and into the wee hours.
The Twitter Blue membership became publicly available over a year ago as a way to read articles from some publishers without ads and make other changes to the app, such as changing the colour of the app’s icon on the home screen.
Advertising continued to make up the vast bulk of Twitter’s revenue in the few quarters after that launch that it declared results as a publicly traded company. Musk wants subscriptions to increase to account for half of the business’s total income.