Billionaire Elon Musk recently announced that the Twitter certification will become paid. For Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, it would be a harmful measure for the social network. Let’s find out together what the repercussions of such a feature would be.
A complete overhaul of Twitter’s financial model
On October 27, 2022, Elon Musk bought the social network Twitter for the tidy sum of $44 billion. Barely arrived at the controls of the “blue bird”, the new CEO upset many things within the company. After searches for Tesla employees, several employees have already been laid off.
The whimsical billionaire Elon Musk indicated shortly after the takeover that he wanted blue certification becomes chargeable. Thus, he wants anyone to be able to access this certification to $8 per month. However, the price may vary as he added that it would be: “adjusted by country in proportion to purchasing power parity.”
He added : “for all the complainers, keep complaining, but this [la certification] will cost 8 dollars”
To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2022
On the other hand, the premium Twitter Blue feature should increase in price. This option only available in the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada offers additional services. Users of this function can for example cancel a tweet or else have specific follow-up in relation to their subscription. Thus, Twitter Blue should go from 4.99 dollars per month to 20 dollars according to Elon Musk.
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A certification accessible to all?
According to the words of the billionaire, if it makes it possible to obtain blue certification, it would be to democratize it. According to him, this feature is reserved for a small elite and has made it profitable for all, would allow everyone to have it.
Currently, if someone wishes to have a blue certification, it involves several things. First of all, it has to be a notable person (often over 100,000 subscribers). Then, the account must be authentic and active on the network. Certification also involves a verification of the identity of the owner of the account via a government document. And finally, all of these are verified by a Twitter team.
Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.
Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
According to the website The Verge, Twitter engineers must roll out the feature by November 7. However, the employees were informed on October 30, which gives them barely 2 weeks…
The new CEO of the blue bird has nevertheless announced the creation of a council composed of members with different points of view. Thus, no major decision or rehabilitation will be decided without the agreement of this council.
Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.
No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
Vitalik Buterin reacts to this statement
The founder of the Ethereum blockchain was quick to react to Elon Musk’s statements. For him, being able to pay for this feature could “harm the anti-scam system“. Indeed, since Twitter users can choose their name as they wish, it can be misleading for some and conducive to scams.
He also underlined the importance of an upstream verification by a competent team.
How well this works depends on exactly how much due diligence is done to make sure blue checks are who they say they are. “Pay $8/month and call yourself whatever” would damage the blue check’s anti-scam role. But if there’s more actual verification, the result is very different. https://t.co/BsQJCMsmDk
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) November 1, 2022
Buterin said the effectiveness of the new proposal will depend on “the exact extent of due diligence performed to ensure that blue checks are who they claim to be.” He added that “if there is more real verification, the result is very different”
The creator of Ethereum took issue with the idea because charging $8 per month “creates an economic hierarchy”, claiming that the “current blue certification system is much more exclusive than the price of 20 dollars per month.”
However, even though Buterin is against Elon Musk’s project, he pointed out that “many scam accounts have certifications these days” and it looks like “to a complete failure of certifications in their current form.”
While Elon Musk has said that Twitter’s business model doesn’t interest him, these statements can be puzzling. It remains to be seen whether this takeover is for reasons of freedom of expression as he claims or so indeed for generate profit.
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