Elon Musk tells advertisers they have to pay for blue badges

Elon Musk tells advertisers they have to pay for blue badges

Illustration of a hand giving money to the Twitter bird logo.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Elon Musk said Wednesday that brands and advertisers who want to stay verified on Twitter will have to pay $8 a month to keep their blue badges, like everyone else.

why is it important: Musk thinks making verification badges available to anyone willing to pay will ‘level the playing field’, but knowing how important advertisers are to Twitter’s business, he still offered to pay brands personally if they “determined not to pay”.

Drive the news: During public time Twitter Spaces Event On Wednesday, Musk shared his product vision for Twitter.

  • He said that in the future, tweets from verified accounts will appear higher in users’ main feed and tweets from unverified accounts will be separated, similar to how Gmail’s spam folder separates spam from e-mail. priority.
  • “Then you can still look at everyone else, but by default it will be the most relevant category that will be checked,” Musk told a group of more than 110,000 listeners, which included marketers from notable companies.

Between the lines: Musk tried to reassure advertisers of his commitment to brand safety and content moderation, but most of the solutions he offered were product-focused, rather than policy-focused.

  • Verification: Musk said paying for blue badges would reduce spam because “creating a fake account is just extremely cheap. Bad actors, ‘don’t have a million credit cards and phones,’ to create many fake verified accounts, he said, would encourage users to post less hate speech.
  • Advertising technology: Musk also said he would focus more on ad innovation so advertising can be more “relevant” and “timely.” notoriety of their brand.
  • Authoring tools: Musk said he wanted to do more to enable monetization of content creators “at a rate that is at least competitive with alternative platforms” and then creators would post more natively on Twitter, bringing more ad inventory to advertisers.
  • Trade: Musk said he wanted to do more to make Twitter ads relevant “to drive short-term sales, but we’re also not doing anything that hurts long-term reputation.”
  • Video: Once people are verified, Musk said they will eventually be able to upload much longer videos.

Yes, but: Advertisers are still skeptical.

  • Musk has reached out to the ad community multiple times over the past two weeks to try to salvage those relationships. But a common response from marketers Axios spoke to after Wednesday’s event is that they remain frustrated with Musk’s lack of commitment to content moderation.
  • Asked about brand safety by Robin Wheeler — Twitter’s vice president of US customer solutions who looks set to become Twitter’s next sales leader — Musk barely touched on content moderation policies.

  • Twitter’s content moderation board will take “a few months” to set up, Musk said. He then pivoted, noting that the company needs to “take a moment to completely rewrite the software stack” so Twitter can innovate faster.

The big picture: Musk’s Spaces event showed how wide the gap is between his views on free speech and advertisers’ expectations of brand safety.

  • Advertisers Axios spoke to are looking for concrete policy ideas and plans to enforce these rules, while Musk remains focused on making Twitter more free speech friendly.
  • “There’s a huge difference between freedom of speech and freedom of access,” Musk explained while emphasizing that “we have to be tolerant of speech we don’t agree with.”
  • His new verification system, he believes, will help solve the range problem.

Yes, but: Musk’s new verification system is already starting to play out, with fraudulent accounts buying verified badges to mislead users.

  • A fake Lebron James account asking to be traded had over 1,500 retweets and tweet quotes before it was suspended.

What to watch: When asked if the same rules on the platform applied to Elon Musk as everyone else, Musk replied, “Yeah, absolutely.”

Go further: A timeline of the Musk-Twitter deal so far


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