Stephen King says he'll quit Twitter if Elon Musk makes him pay $20 a month to be verified: 'they should pay me'
- Elon Musk is reportedly considering making people pay $20 per month to stay verified on Twitter.
- Author Stephen King tweeted that he'll quit the site if that idea is implemented.
Author Stephen King isn't a fan of the Elon Musk era of Twitter.
The Verge reported on Sunday that Musk, who completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter last week, is planning to charge $20 per month for verified users to keep their blue checkmark that signifies they are the real accounts of celebrities, politicians, journalists, and other public figures.
King tweeted on Monday that he would leave Twitter if the plan is implemented.
"$20 a month to keep my blue check? Fuck that, they should pay me," King said. "If that gets instituted, I'm gone like Enron."
King's full-throated response highlights the risk of Musk's reported product change, and questions the central thesis of the idea: Will be people be willing to pay $20 a month — $240 a year — for a blue check mark?
The move, which would essentially amount to sending a bill to your high-profile users, would likely boost Twitter's subscription revenue and further diversify it beyond the company's core advertising model. But the change could also drive away some of Twitter's biggest users.
Many social networks, like TikTok and Meta, are doing the opposite and offering a pool of payments to big names and influencers using their platforms, with the idea being to drive growth by keeping happy the people who make the most-engaged content.
The change would also open the door for fake accounts to impersonate journalists, celebrities, and government officials and organizations, which could lead to a surge in misinformation being spread on Twitter. Musk has already criticized strict social-media moderation, painting himself as a "free-speech" advocate. A mix of fewer verification badges and lax moderation guidelines could be a perfect storm of unchecked misinformation and conspiracy theories.
King isn't the only public figure to denounce the potential plan.
Nate Silver, editor of the political analysis site FiveThirtyEight, tweeted that he is "probably the perfect target" for the idea because he "can afford" it and is "not particularly anti-Elon," but he's "generated a ton of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can go fuck themselves."
Josh Marshall, founder of the political news website Talking Points Memo, tweeted "I think they're going to be in for a rude surprise for how many people will pay $20 a month for a blue check."
Musk's first few days as Twitter owner have been messy, beyond public figures saying they would leave the site.
He immediately fired several top execs, including CEO Parag Agrawal. He also plans to layoff 25% of employees, according to The Washington Post.
And far-right trolls quickly celebrated, with use of the N-word surging in the hours after Musk's acquisition.
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