Twitter announced a subscription service on Saturday that includes a blue checkmark that is currently given to verified accounts.
The social media giant is offering the subscription for a monthly fee of $7.99, adding that users who “sign up now” can receive the blue checkmark “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow,” The Associated Press reported.
The blue checkmark was implemented shortly after the company began to gain popularity in 2008, helping to prevent users from impersonating high-profile celebrities.
The new subscription is available through the latest version of the Twitter for iOS app, according to The Verge.
Before the overhaul, Twitter had more than 423,000 verified accounts, according to the AP.
The move comes two days after company CEO Elon Musk began laying off employees at Twitter. Approximately half of the company’s workforce — about 3,700 employees — were laid off on Friday, The New York Times reported.
According to state filings in California, Twitter laid off 784 workers in San Francisco, 106 employees in San Jose and 93 in Santa Monica, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on Saturday took the blame for the layoffs, according to the AP.
“I realize many are angry with me. I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly,” Dorsey tweeted. “I apologize for that.”
Musk originally floated the idea of charging users $20 per month for the blue check and extra features, but backtracked after an exchange with author Stephen King, who tweeted, “If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.”
“We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers,” Musk answered. “How about $8?”
The update Twitter made to the iOS version of its app does not mention verification as part of the new “blue check” system, the AP reported.
The app displays a “Blue looks good on you, enjoy your verified checkmark” pop-up when users sign up, but lacks the actual opt-in for displaying a “verified” label on a user’s profile, according to The Verge.
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