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

Illustration of a hand giving money to the Twitter bird logo.

Photo: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

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

Why is it important?: Musk believes that making verification badges accessible to anyone willing to pay will “level the playing field,” but knowing how important advertisers are to Twitter’s business, he still offered to pay brands individually if they’re “hell over not paying.” .”

Driving news: During the hour-long public Twitter Spaces event On Wednesday, Musk laid out his product vision for Twitter.

  • He said that in the future, tweets from verified accounts will appear more in users’ main feed and tweets from non-verified accounts will be separated, much like Gmail’s spam folder separates junk email from priority email.
  • “Then you can still look at all the others, but it will default to the higher relevant category that will be tested,” Musk told a group of more than 110,000 listeners, including marketers from notable companies.
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between the lines: Musk tried to reassure advertisers that he was committed to brand safety and content moderation, but most of the solutions he offered focused on products rather than policy solutions.

  • Verification: Musk said that paying for blue badges would reduce spam because “it’s very cheap to create fake accounts. Bad actors create so many fake verified accounts, “not a million credit cards and phones,” he said. He also argued for payment. Will encourage users to post less hate speech.
  • Advertising Technology: Musk also said he would focus more on ad innovation so that advertising can become more “relevant” and “timely.” Twitter has long failed to create ad solutions for display advertisers, or advertisers who want to sell goods effectively rather than just spread. . Awareness about their brand.
  • Creator tools: Musk said he wants to do more to enable monetization for content creators for platforms that are “at least competitive with the alternative,” so creators will post more natively on Twitter, bringing more ad inventory for advertisers.
  • Commerce: Musk said he wants to do more to make Twitter’s ads “relevant to drive sales in the short term but we’re not doing anything that will damage the reputation in the long term.”
  • Video: Once people are verified, Musk said they will eventually be able to download longer videos.
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Yes, but: Advertisers are still skeptical.

  • Musk has reached out to the ad community several times over the past two weeks to salvage those ties. But a common response from marketers Axios after Wednesday’s event is that they remain frustrated with Musk’s lack of commitment to content moderation.
  • When asked about brand safety by Robin Wheeler — Twitter’s VP of US client solutions who is poised to become Twitter’s next sales leader — Musk rarely addressed content moderation policies.

  • Putting together Twitter’s content moderation council will take “a few months,” Musk said. He then pointed out the direction, noting that the company needs to “take some time to completely rewrite the software stack” so Twitter can innovate faster.
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big picture: Musk’s Spaces event shows how wide the gulf is between advertisers’ expectations of brand safety and their views on free speech.

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

Yes, but: Musk’s new verification system is already being gamed, with spoof accounts buying verified badges to mislead users.

  • A LeBron James spoof account had over 1,500 retweets and quote tweets before it was suspended.

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

Go deeper: A timeline of the Musk-Twitter deal so far


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