Elon Musk continues his chaotic takeover of Twitter. He has finally clinched the on-off deal for Twitter with a deal quoted as an over-priced $44 billion. He is now proposing an extension of the site’s blue tick badge scheme for $8 a month. Millions of users are threatening to quit.
His actions over the last few months have been that of an enormously wealthy vaccinating adolescent. At times he reflected market opinion that his object of desire was too expensive, and arguably mutton dressed up to look like lamb.
Anyway the deal was eventually done. Mr Musk tweeted his delight, describing himself as the chief twit. His sense of humour is rarely far from the surface when he is appearing in public.
But it became clear he has grand plans for his new plaything, but no clear idea how to put them into practice. The plan is appropriately grandiose. Something about enhancing humankind by liberating voices in the global town square. His immediate actions were to fire the top team at Twitter, bring in his own firefighters, and start a discussion on Twitter on how to achieve results. First he has to make it pay.
‘We need to pay the bills somehow‘
He tweeted ‘we need to pay the bills somehow’ partly to clean up the site from an unknown number of bots and false accounts. This started a Twitter debate in which his original idea of $20 a head payment was eventually fixed at $8. Millions of users currently using the site for free were outraged. As you would expect, and no doubt Elon Musk expected. Undeterred he brought the debate to close.
“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,”
[That’s how this bad boy does business, folks]
His initial target is expanding the current blue-tick badge scheme. At present, it protects public authorities as as Govt Departments from fake sites. It also caters for celebrity tweeters from politics, show biz, and the arts.Improvements to the scheme had already begun under Twitter’s earlier owners.
Doubts are being raised
Doubts are being raised beyond those of ‘furious peasants’ like myself who currently pay nothing. An examination by Verified Handles, a site dedicated to facts and carefully examined opinion, states:
Even to non-verified users this is a significant change from any verification schemes in the past. I’m familiar with smaller sites that use paid verification as a means to support development of the site. Twitter will need to change its revenue model as advertisers leave the platform. Musk has publicly stated he wants recurring paid customers to make up half of the company’s revenue.
Following an already turbulent few days, the platform will be taking a big risk that undeniably will cause impersonation, untrust and financial fraud on a scale never seen, followed by untrust and financial fraud before if the planned change goes ahead. This will cause more disruption than the 2020 account hijack, where 130 verified accounts were hacked and use to promote a bitcoin scam.
I am reminded of the nominated new word of the year for 2022 Permacrisis. A period of sustained turbulence and crisis.