November 29, 2022

OWNED: Did Stephen King just cause Elon Musk to slash blue check prices already?

OWNED: Did Stephen King just cause Elon Musk to slash blue check prices already?

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Twitter’s chief troll Elon Musk and Stephen King, the renowned horror writer whose use of the platform adds to the enjoyment of nearly 7 million followers, are on opposite sides of the debate about charging $20 per month for blue-checkmark status.

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As rumors, leaks, and news circulated over the past week about the changes Musk plans to implement, one particular proposal, charging users $20 per month for the privilege of a verified account, caught the attention of one of America’s most celebrated horror novelists.

Stephen King tweeted out a declaration that he would not be paying for the service, and that if a charge was implemented for using the site or remaining verified, he’d simply leave. “It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing,” he explained.

Still, Musk jumped to reply to King, urging him to rethink his position, and suggesting that a lower price point might help — although $96 annually compared to $240 annually isn’t likely to be a game-changer for the bestselling author.

King, whose Twitter content is popular and generates a lot of activity, was clear about his reasoning up front. His initial post declared, “$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me,” and when he was called “cheap” for that position, he clarified, “It’s the principle of the thing.

[Screenshot via Twitter]
Musk responded overnight, first tweeting to King around 1 AM eastern time to explain that Twitter can’t “pay the bills” by relying fully on advertising revenue (something that may be a genuine concern as advertisers back out of the site under his ownership), and to offer a compromise at $8 per month.

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When King didn’t immediately reply, Musk followed up about 10 minutes later, insisting that the fee is “the only way to beat the bots and trolls,” and promised to explain more later.

[Screenshot via Twitter]
Musk later tweeted out the $8 price, going on to make a list of promises for perks that would come with the fee, including reduced ad content, priority in replies, mentions, and searches, and the ability to bypass paywalls on unspecified media sites.

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Many people might think that they have more power if they get to hold onto their eight dollars monthly, but it remains to be seen how many people will sign up for the new verification offering on Twitter.

Still, Musk is trying hard to generate enthusiasm for his new plan, despite the misgivings of people like Stephen King. He even posted a cheesy promotional photo for the occasion.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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