Twitter is set to scrap features for users who do not pay a monthly fee for a blue tick verification, according to new rules shared by billionaire owner Elon Musk.
Users of the social media platform who want to remain verified can pay up to 11 US dollars (£8.93) a month as part of Mr Musk’s shake-up that will also see voting in polls blocked for non-verified accounts.
Mr Musk, who is also the chief executive of the platform, said that paid social media will be “the only social media that matters”.
He rolled out the opt-in paid subscription service, called Twitter Blue, after taking on the top job last year, which allows people to add a blue checkmark to their account and access features such as editing a published Tweet or seeing fewer adverts.
Users can currently pay 7 US dollars (£5.69) a month for an annual subscription to the service.
But soon Twitter could remove the verified status of some “legacy” accounts which were set up before Mr Musk bought the platform for 44 billion US dollars (£35.7 billion) in October.
From April 15, only verified accounts will be able to us the “for you” page, which shows users recommended Tweets outside their follow lists, Mr Musk said.
Voting in polls will also require verification.
“This is the only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over. It is otherwise a hopeless losing battle,” he tweeted on Monday.
It follows the Tesla and SpaceX boss sharing his assertion that the blue verification marks have become an underserved or “corrupt” status symbol for journalists and celebrities.
In response to criticism from Canadian actor William Shatner that the blue checks will soon disappear for non-paying accounts, Mr Musk said the rules are “more about treating everyone equally” as there “shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities”.
But other personalities including American activist Monica Lewinsky criticised the move, suggesting that allowing people to pay for verification leaves the platform open to impersonation and misinformation.
She tweeted: “In what universe is it fair to people who can suffer consequences for being impersonated? A lie travels half way around the world before truth even gets out the door.”
She proceeded to share a link to her Instagram account.
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