https://www.theepochtimes.com/twitter-launches-monthly-subscription-service-certain-users-get-discount_4844476.html

Twitter on Nov. 5 launched a monthly subscription service dubbed “Twitter Blue.”

The first major product update since Elon Musk bought the California-based company, Twitter Blue was being offered to certain users for $4.99 a month and to others at $7.99 a month.

The subscription gives people “exclusive benefits,” prospective subscribers were told, including early access to select features and the ability to edit posts.

People seeking the coveted blue checkmarks, which are featured next to some user names, would also get one if they subscribe.

“We’re exploring ways to make the Twitter experience next level—and Twitter Blue is just the beginning. This opt-in, paid monthly subscription offers exclusive access to premium features that let you customize your Twitter experience,” Twitter said in a statement.

The subscription was being offered to users in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for more details, including why certain users were being offered a discount.

The lower price was being offered to at least one user who already has a blue checkmark, The Epoch Times confirmed.

Musk, the Tesla founder, bought Twitter in October for $44 billion. He has said he sees the company as providing a “digital town square” and disapproved of the rampant censorship in which the company has increasingly engaged in recent years.

The blue checkmark issue was a key aspect of subscriptions. In the past, users could submit an application for one. The checkmark meant a user’s identity was verified, but many users struggled to obtain one.

Musk said Saturday that, previously, the checkmarks were being handed out “often arbitrarily.”

“You can buy as many as you want right now with a Google search. Piggybacking off payment system plus Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification,” he wrote on Twitter.

Musk also voiced support for investigating allegations that Twitter employees were selling checkmarks for upwards of $15,000.

Twitter Blue would be rolled out to other countries after confirmation it’s working well, according to Musk.

Musk and other executives hope the product update will bring in revenue to help offset the loss in advertisers that happened after he took control of the company.

A number of companies have stopped buying advertisements on the platform in protest against Musk’s plans, which he says will better protect free speech while maintaining a good user experience. Critics say Musk’s ownership will result in a worse user experience, among other possible issues.

Musk has already laid off a number of workers, something he called necessary because the company is losing over $4 million per day. Some of the terminations would have happened regardless of who was in charge because of the financial situation, the new owner said.

Of Twitter’s $2.3 billion in earnings through the first six months of 2022, more than $2.1 billion came from advertising.

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news for The Epoch Times. He is based in Maryland.

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