Elon Musk’s First Days Owning Twitter: What You Need To Know

You might just have to pay for that blue checkmark (and more)

After months of legal qualms and attempted back-outs, Elon Musk has been officially named the sole owner of Twitter. Paying $44 million for the social media magnate, Musk now holds singular control of one of the world’s greatest information and connection platforms. After stepping into Twitter offices, Musk quickly rolled out his business changes. Having fired former CEO Parag Agrawal, among other higher-ups at the company, a mass exodus of Twitter employees was quick to ensue. Yet, as the San Francisco HQ slowly burned down, Musk claimed victory: “the bird is freed.”

What this means for the everyday Twitter user may be a bit more complicated to parse out, mostly because those decisions will take more time to implement. Most of what we know presently comes straight from the horse’s mouth, with Musk throwing out new business ideas in his never-ending parade of tweets. Still, some of those decisions are a bit jarring. 

The most direct change to the platform proposed by Musk was a payment model for verification. The blue checkmark next to your handle has long been a symbol of status and authenticity, demonstrating that the Twitter Gods have confirmed the account to be real and important. That symbol may just become a sign of wealth, too, as Musk tweets a proposal for $8/month verification fees. This price would be adjusted per country and would give verified users access to extra features and limited ads. 

Paid verification could also lead to user strife within the platform, as many opt not to repurchase their checkmarks as a statement against Musk. The power and usage of Twitter verification are changing, and it’s likely not for the better. 

Another change on the horizon: the resurrection of Vine. Purchased by Twitter back in 2013, Vine was quickly shut down to the dismay of users everywhere. Now, almost eight years after its destruction, Elon Musk tweeted out a poll: “Bring back Vine?” This isn’t just for the meme, though: backroom reports lead many to believe that Musk has proposed a Vine renewal to the Twitter C-suites. 

A revival of Vine, which was long considered an entirely dead platform, would be a fascinating addition to the social media landscape. With TikTok scoring highest in user engagement for months on end, it seems that Vine has found its replacement. Still, a Vine reboot could bring some much-needed competition to the industry.

The most urgent, hot-button issue with the purchase of Twitter will likely be the reintroduction of blocked accounts. On Friday, January 8th of 2021, just two days after the attempted Capital insurrection, Twitter ousted Donald Trump from their platform. Musk, who was in clear opposition to the move back in 2021, has now made it his mission to bring back accounts blocked under Twitter’s former policies. This goes beyond Trump, too: many of the accounts blocked for hate speech could be brought back to life. This will take some time, though, with Musk tweeting that the re-platforming of certain individuals will take a few more weeks. 

For those worried about the upcoming Midterm elections, you’re in luck: none of these blocked accounts will be brought back before voting closes. But, for the time afterward, we may have cause to be worried. Tides are certainly changing at Twitter, both on the business and consumer sides of the equation. Now we may only wait and see what Musk tweets next.

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