The Reason Elon’s $8 Blue Checkmarks Works for Twitter
So, as we all know, Elon Musk has taken over Twitter. He is starting to implement a few changes that have caused a few people to be upset. One of these changes that Elon is planning, is to charge eight dollars a month for a blue checkmark. A blue checkmark on Twitter traditionally means you have been 'verified'.
Twitter verification means that you are in real life who you say you are on Twitter. Usually, the people verified were journalists or well-known celebrities. The major problem was that the verification system was manual and consequentially, seemingly random. I know people who are fairly well-known but could not get a blue checkmark, while people that did not seem to be credible, who did get a blue checkmark.
Their verification system was to some extent, biased because it was arbitrary as to whom deserved a blue checkmark, and that depended on the bias of the reviewer. They are human after all, and we all have biases. That’s a problem, for two reasons.
The first reason is their verification system is a manual process. You have to apply and a living breathing person has to look you up and decide if you are worthy of being verified.
The second reason is that using humans is non-scalable. Since the blue checkmark is valuable as a signal of trust, you cannot scale using a human-verified system. Verification by humans is a time-consuming and non-scalable problem, and that is where the blue checkmark for $8 a month. An $8 fee will verify, while it may not be optimal, it will be scalable.
This is one of the most valuable things for a platform like Twitter. A lot of people use Twitter for news, commentary, and emergencies. I was in an earthquake recently, and the first thing I did was look on Twitter for earthquake information.
Twitter is a very Public Square that needs to be preserved. Preserving that public square needs to be preserved by increasing trust in the system.
I believe Elon Musk's decision and his future decisions I think will be aligned with building trust on Twitter. His recent policy of "no impersonation" is one example of that philosophy.