Elon Musk

Elon Musk Wants Us to Think He’s at War With the Elites

Elon Musk’s Twitter take-over has been a bumpy ride for Twitter employees (many of whom are now former employees) as well as Twitter users, alike. Most recently he’s been ruffling feathers about his proposed changes to how one gets and keeps the coveted blue check on their profile. He says it’s to take down the “elites” and “lords” who currently have free blue checkmarks. Many people, however, are saying that this is not the real reason behind the move.

Elon Musk To Make People Pay For Blue Check Marks On Twitter

After attempting to back out of his purchase of Twitter, its new owner Elon Musk is making some big changes to the social media platform that he was forced to buy. Firstly, he has been firing people left, right, and center. Currently, he is on track to lay off about half the company, around 3500 employees. On top of that, he’s making moves to make blue verification check marks something you can simply buy, not something you have to apply for. (1)

Initially, reports said that Musk wanted to charge a $20/month subscription fee for a blue checkmark. He put a deadline on his engineers of November 7th to have it ready by. Anyone who failed to hit that target would be fired. Some prominent people, however, including author Stephen King, refused to pay. Musk then changed course and made it an $8 per month fee with perks such as fewer ads and priority on the site, though it is unclear what “site priority” would mean. VICE called this move making Twitter a “pay-to-play” platform, essentially.

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Why Is Elon Musk Doing This?

Musk says that this is a kind of “power to the people” move. He, as well as his friend and millionaire David Sacks, are attempting to spin this move into a regular joes versus “elites” conversation of sorts. Elon recently tweeted out this:

“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.” 

And Sacks followed up with his own tweet that says:

“The entitled elite is not mad that they have to pay $8/month. They’re mad that anyone can pay $8/month.” 

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It’s Likely Really About Money

As VICE reporters pointed out, Musk was forced to buy Twitter, and at a very high price. Taking Twitter private has created massive debt interest at an annual price of $1 billion. The number of people with blue checks would need to be 10 times higher than what it is now in order to pay that down. Making blue checks available for sale opens up a small window of opportunity to actually achieve that.

For this reason, Musk and friends are attempting to spin the pay for blue checks as a move “for the people”. There are no more criteria for blue checks, you just have to be able to pay for it. A big part of Musk’s beef with the current blue check system is that many of those who have them are journalists.

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Why Do Blue Checks Exist, Anyways?

Twitter first began giving out blue checks after a lawsuit put against them by former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa over a parody account of his Twitter account. This account was mocking the deaths of players and La Russa’s DUI. It was because of all of this that the blue check verification came into play. Twitter gave out blue checks to celebrities and other famous people, including Elon Musk himself, to prevent fraud and impersonation.

Many journalists were given blue checks as a way of showing that this person is a verified source of information. (2) It’s the journalists that have really riled up Musk and friends. Musk believes that journalists are untrustworthy and that they shouldn’t be considered true or proper sources of information. Truthfully, it seems as though Musk is frustrated that there is a group of people on the platform that are neither rich, famous, or powerful, and yet can still keep him accountable for what he says on the social media platform. This is especially true now that he owns it. 

As already mentioned, the number of paying blue-check Twitter users would have to be quite massive in order for this scheme to actually put a dent in Twitter’s current debt. Whether or not it is a success, well, we will have to just wait and see.

Keep Reading: Elon Musk Reverses Life Time Bans on Twitter. Will he be Welcoming Trump Back?

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Sources

  1. Elon Musk Wants Us to Think He’s at War With the Elites.” Vice. Edward Ongweso Jr. November 3, 2022.
  2. Tony La Russa’s Dream Of Twitter Verification Will Soon Just Be Something You Can Buy.” Defector. Dan McQuade. November 2, 2022.
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