Elon Musk tells advertisers they have to pay $8 for blue badges

Illustration of a hand giving money to Twitter bird logo.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Elon Musk said Wednesday that brands and advertisers who want to remain verified on Twitter will need to pay $8 a month to keep their blue badges, just like everyone else.

why it matters: Musk believes that making verification badges available to anyone willing to pay would “level the playing field,” but he knows how important advertisers are to Twitter’s business, and he’s still willing to pay for brands himself if they’re “absolutely not paying” .

push the news: During an hour-long public event Twitter space activity On Wednesday, Musk laid out his product vision for Twitter.

  • In the future, tweets from verified accounts will show up higher in a user’s main feed, and tweets from unverified accounts will be separated, similar to how Gmail’s spam folder separates spam from priority emails, he said. Mail separately.
  • “Then you can still view everything else, but it will default to the highly relevant category that will be verified,” Musk told an audience of more than 110,000, including marketers from well-known companies.
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between the lines: Musk tries to reassure advertisers that he is committed to brand safety and content moderation, but most of the solutions he offers are focused on product, not policy solutions.

  • confirm: Musk said paying for the blue badge will reduce spam because “it’s very cheap to create a fake account. Bad actors don’t have a million credit cards and cell phones” to make many verified fake accounts. He also argued that paying Users will be incentivized to post less hate speech.
  • Ad tech: Musk also said he will focus more on ad innovation so that ads are more “relevant” and “timely” Twitter has long failed to build ad solutions for performance advertisers or advertisers looking to sell effectively, not just is to spread their brand awareness.
  • Creator Tools: Musk says he wants to do more to monetize content creators “at least as fast as they can compete with alternative platforms”, and creators will then post more local content on Twitter, bringing more benefits to advertisers Multiple ad inventory.
  • Business: Musk said he wants to do more to make Twitter’s ads relevant “to drive sales in the short term, but we’re also not doing anything to damage our reputation in the long run.”
  • video: Once people are verified, Musk said they will eventually be able to download longer videos.
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Yes, but: Advertisers remain skeptical.

  • Musk has reached out to the advertising community several times over the past two weeks in an attempt to salvage those relationships. But a common reaction from marketers Axios interviewed after Wednesday’s event was that they remained frustrated with Musk’s lack of commitment to content moderation.
  • When asked about brand safety, Twitter’s U.S. vice president of customer solutions Robin Wheeler seemed poised to be Twitter’s next sales leader, and Musk said little about content moderation policies.

  • Musk said Twitter’s content moderation committee will take “months” to form. He then turns to point out that the company needs to “take the time to completely rewrite the software stack” so Twitter can innovate faster.
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big picture: Musk’s Spaces campaign shows just how far apart he is about free speech and advertisers’ expectations for brand safety.

  • Advertisers Axios spoke with were looking for specific policy ideas and plans to enforce the rules, while Musk remained focused on making Twitter more free-speech friendly.
  • “There’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and freedom of access,” Musk argued, while stressing that “we need to tolerate speech we don’t agree with.”
  • He believes that his new verification system will help solve the coverage problem.

Yes, but: Musk’s new verification system has begun to be played with tricking accounts into buying verified badges to mislead users.

  • A spoof account that requested a trade from LeBron James had more than 1,500 retweets and quoted tweets before being suspended.

what to see: When asked if the rules on the platform apply to Elon Musk as well as everyone else, Musk said: “Yes, absolutely.”

deeper: Timeline of Musk’s Twitter deal so far


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