Billionaire Elon Musk, who now owns the microblogging giant Twitter, wants users to pay $8 (Rs 661.53) per month to be verified and get the blue tick. As of 2021, Twitter has approximately 300,000 verified users worldwide.
In a series of Tweets, Musk stated that to have a ‘blue tick’ would cost $8 per month for users in the US, but the “price could be adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity”. This could mean that for Indian users the price could be different.
It is unknown how many blue tick users exist in India alone. News18 reached out to Twitter to find out the details, but hasn’t received any response at the time of writing this report. The existing data, however, showed that in the list of leading countries based on the number of Twitter users, India ranks third, after the US and Japan, as of January 2022, with over 23 million users.
After Musk’s tweets became viral, Mayank Bidawatka, Co-Founder of Koo, which is the indigenous rival of Twitter, told News18: “Koo had launched a self-verification process, granting a ’green tick’ to empower every user on Koo to be recognised as a genuine voice.”
What Industry Predicts
“Additionally, the ‘yellow tick’ is given to eminent personalities so that users can find the right eminent personality. All this is done without any charge,” he noted.
He also tweeted saying: “All the lovely, verified handles here on Twitter, you are welcome to join @kooindia and ping me here on comments for a ‘FREE’ instant verified tick! Don’t pay Rs 650 per month.”
However, whether Musk’s decision to charge users for ‘blue tick’ would help Koo to gain more users is a matter to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile, Mithun Vijay Kumar, a content management professional, author, and political analyst, told News18: “Unsystematic business decisions and their abrupt nature are traits peculiar to Musk.” He believes that the subscription model is likely to affect Twitter users worldwide.
“In addition to the subscription model and sacking of top-management executives, not-so-surprising yet unbelievable reports are coming in that Twitter has ordered its engineers to work 12 hours a day to meet Elon Musk’s expectations,” he added.
Kumar said that given the benefits and the preferential nature of badges on the platform, the drop-off rate may not be higher.
While explaining, he said: “If more than five million Indian users can choose paid subscriptions for entertainment on a leading OTT platform, the drop-off percentage for the subscription model of Twitter is likely to be very low.”
Another expert, Mayurakshi Das, Founder and CEO Elixir.Ai, believes that the ‘pay for blue tick’ model would clean up the platform with users being more validated.
“The magnanimous outreach that Twitter has will make it a little more responsible platform. Those serious and thoughtful of voicing opinions will be there, the rest of the general public will refrain,” she noted.
Furthermore, she said “Elon Musk has been fair” as the billionaire tweeted that the price has been adjusted by country.
However, Niraj Bora, Founder of Surmount Business Advisors Pvt ltd, said: “Verification till now represents a known person, who can be differentiated from similar accounts. Paying premium like say LinkedIn cannot be the same as the initial verification as it’s a different objective altogether.”
He highlighted that Twitter has to first clarify if the tick represents “verification or premium” because maybe it’s the same for a company or brand, but for a person, it looks different.
Meanwhile, Rajarshi Bhattacharyya, Chairman and Managing Director of ProcessIT Global, highlighted a different side of this ongoing issue.
According to him: “The blue tick, a prized feature on Twitter, added as part of the verification procedure will certainly lead to cyberattacks and phishing emails.” “This chaos will be seen in India with the growing number of mobile phone users who frequently use messaging apps on their devices,” he added.
“In addition to sending phishing emails, cybercriminals will send unsafe links on these apps that lead to malicious websites, causing a nightmare.”
He urged the users to be cautious before opening these links to avoid damage.
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