Groucho Marx, a comedian, may have said, according to long-standing rumors that he doesn’t wish to be a member of any club which would consider me a member. Although self-deprecating and ironic, this line was meant to be an insult at the club’s refusal to accept any person.
Many on Twitter or at least those with the coveted blue checkmarks – those with verified accounts – could soon have a similar opinion if tech entrepreneur Elon Musk follows through on his plan to charge a subscription fee for the privilege of getting verified.
It is important to note that the blue checkmark could be bought by anyone.
Luke Lintz CEO, HighKey Enterprises’ social media marketing agency said that we need to examine what verification looks like on social networks and how it has been used across social media platforms.
The business community, new influencers and the public have been very interested in verification. There has not been an easy way to obtain the verification and many social media platforms only require that you are ‘newsworthy’ and ‘notorious’ online.
Lintz stated that economics is influenced by the perception of value. When there’s a high demand and low supply for something, it increases in price. We have witnessed verification become almost unaffordable and beholden to so much value when there is high demand but low supply.
Musk is therefore open to the possibility of creating a subscription-based model for verification. This increases supply to the point that it can essentially become unlimited. Therefore, the cost of verification will be the same as the price point of the subscription.
Lintz stated that “this change will receive a lot from Twitter users already verified and Twitter will have the to transition to new models.”
There is an increase in the number of fake accounts
The blue checkmarks could be sold to reduce not only their value but also the meaning of the accounts. At the moment, we believe that those accounts with blue cheques are genuine and can therefore trust them to be true to what they say.
Rachel Foster Jones (thematic analyst, GlobalData) stated via email that it will be difficult to determine which accounts are genuine when users refuse to pay. This could increase the chance of misinformation and impersonation.
Jones said that subscribers will have their tweets prioritized and amplified, which may give them a greater influence on shaping content on Twitter Blue. Subscribers can also have their tweets prioritized and amplified on Twitter Blue, which may give them a substantial influence on shaping content on the app.
Current verification is most valuable for prominent figures or business people who are involved in a lot networking.
Lintz stated that verification allows other users to locate your genuine profile. It also helps them avoid scam accounts while networking via the Twitter DMs or comments. It is significantly easier to establish trust and rapport with someone when you have a verified profile.”
But they can pay to be verified even if there is no value.
Why shouldn’t everyone be verified?
Another side to the coin is that in order to reduce fake accounts and spread misinformation, it might be necessary for everyone signing up on social media platforms to be verified. To join Twitter, you only need an email address.
Lintz suggested that Musk develop a better model that would be beneficial to everyone. The model could have two stages to be verified.
His explanation was that “The verification stage (could include) a grey checkmark. It means that you have verified your identity” It would safeguard your account against being incorrectly deleted from Twitter and protect you from fake accounts. The blue checkmark marks the next stage in verification. These checks are required for public figures, which are not only those who pay the subscription but also for people of note.
Twitter could benefit from such a model, which would continue to receive revenue. However, users could access an updated version of verification. This could prove to be a big win for them.
However, this would not work if the users were willing to pay a monthly charge.
Lintz stated that the model would fail dramatically if Twitter released the subscription-based verification system and no one is willing to pay. It is possible that large numbers of people will buy it, which will lead to the blue-checkmark becoming extremely undervalued over time. People will cease paying the subscription fee as they use the platform less frequently.