In Elon Musk’s first significant update to the social media site, Twitter updated its app on Saturday and started charging $8 for coveted blue check verification marks.
The transformation occurs a week after Musk paid $44 billion to acquire control of the social media giant. The CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla, a millionaire businessman, dismissed half of Twitter’s personnel and promised to start charging users more.
In an update to Apple iOS devices, Twitter said those who “sign up now” for $7.99 a month can receive the blue checkmark next to their user names, “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”
Before Musk took over, blue check marks next to a person’s user name meant Twitter confirmed the account belonged to the person or company claiming it. It was not immediately clear how or if Twitter planned to verify the identity of the user beyond charging a fee.
The iOS notification lists “half the advertisements,” the option to submit lengthier videos to Twitter, and priority ranking for great material as other advantages of the update.
A request for comment was not immediately answered by Twitter or Musk via Tesla.
The improvements were announced by Twitter’s new CEO earlier this week as part of his efforts to monetise the social media platform and reduce its reliance on adverts. Most users of Twitter currently enjoy free service.