The Daily Telegraph
Musk to offer paying users share of advertising in Twitter tweaks
ELON MUSK has announced another shake-up of Twitter that will give influencers a share of advertising and non-paying users stripped of their “blue ticks”.
The Tesla chief, who bought the social network for $44bn (£36bn) last year and is scrambling to make it profitable, said Twitter will let fee-paying users receive commissions for adverts that appear in replies to their posts.
Only subscribers to Twitter Blue, the subscription service Mr Musk launched shortly after taking control of the company, will have access to the feature.
At the same time, the billionaire announced plans to further restrict which users on the platform receive a blue tick next to their name – suggesting that users who had received one under a previous system would lose them “in a few months”.
The ticks have long been used to denote the official accounts of governments, sports stars, journalists, celebrities and activists, in an attempt to prevent disinformation and assure users they were who they said they were. But under Mr Musk – who has described the old blue ticks as a “lords & peasants’ system” – Twitter has instead allowed any user to acquire a blue tick by signing up for £11 per month or about £100 annually.
The change triggered widespread complaints when introduced, as scammers and mischief-making users paid their dues before impersonating major brands such as Nintendo, branches of the Norwegian government and politicians including Sir Tony Blair.
Twitter has since moved to give different-coloured ticks to governments and other denotations for the official accounts of organisations and businesses. And Mr Musk remains determined to grow the number of people signing up to Twitter Blue, granting paying users long sought-after features such as an edit button.
The tycoon has said that he wants to attract major internet influencers back to the platform and encourage them to post content such as videos, possibly by paying them attractive fees.
His move to give them a slice of advertising revenues looks like another step in that direction.
“Twitter needs to be where a creator is most highly rewarded for their time & talent,” Mr Musk tweeted yesterday.
He has also talked about turning Twitter into an “everything app” that will let people send each other money.
Mr Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been far from smooth, laying off half of the social network’s staff and warning in November that it risked going bankrupt without seismic changes. In December, he described the business as “a plane going towards the ground at high velocity, with the engines burning and the controls failing to work”.