Stephen King is the latest in a long list of celebrities threatening to leave Twitter after billionaire businessman Elon Musk took over the platform.
Although no major changes to Twitter’s rules have been made so far, Musk has hinted at a number of ideas he intends on implementing. Among them is an update that would make verified accounts pay for their blue tick status. This would reportedly involve a $19.99 monthly fee.
King, who has been on Twitter since 2013, is not a fan of the purchasable verified status and has said he will be leaving the platform if the update comes to fruition. “F-ck that, they should pay me,” the author tweeted.
The paid verification would apparently be done through Twitter’s premium service Twitter Blue. Twitter Blue was launched in 2021 for an initial monthly fee of $2.99, which later increased to $4.99. Users subscribed to this premium service have access to various features like grouping bookmarked tweets or retracting tweets before they go live.
Anyone can subscribe to Twitter Blue regardless of their verified status, and the service does not automatically grant users the famous blue check. Likewise, not all verified users are currently subscribed to Twitter Blue.
However, with Musk’s update, all verified users would be given 90 days to subscribe to Twitter Blue or lose their blue check status. The blue check was introduced in 2009 as a way to differentiate between official Twitter accounts and fan accounts or impersonators. Since then, it has grown into a symbol of prestige and legitimacy.
It’s not that the millionaire suspense novelist wouldn’t be able to afford a $20 monthly bill, but, as King explains to a fan who questioned that very reality, “It ain’t the money, it’s the principal of the thing.”
The ability to effectively buy your verified status could have unpredictable and nefarious consequences, but little is known yet about Musk’s strategy to implement this.
Twitter’s new owner has expressed intentions to review the platform’s content moderation policy, banned users, as well as the number of bots and verified accounts. Many are worried the platform will become an even bigger breeding ground for hatred, bullying, and bigotry.