Twitter began rolling out one of the most significant product changes in the company’s history over the weekend, with the launch of an update to its Twitter Blue subscription offering. It’s a rollout that had quickly become a hallmark of new owner Elon Musk’s turbulent first week in charge, as he races to find cost savings and fresh revenue to offset his new company’s dire financial straits (which he’s characterized, via a tweet, as equivalent to a loss of $4 million a day).
Enter a now more-expensive Twitter Blue. After leaving the Twitterati aghast with his initial and half-baked plan to hike the $4.99/month product to $20, Musk settled on $7.99 — with new benefits including blue-check status for anyone who pays, plus an assortment of other perks for power users like prioritized replies and fewer ads. And so there it was, in the App Store over the weekend, following draconian layoffs at Twitter that resulted in several thousand people leaving the company: Version 9.34.3 of the Twitter app, including the Twitter Blue changes.
Twitter Blue updates
Right away, though, people had questions.
For starters, based on the update notes in the App Store, it seemed that only the blue-check badge (now available to everyone who pays this upcharge, as opposed to only the VIPs after they applied to Twitter before) was ready to go as part of the more-expensive Twitter Blue package.
The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue… coming soon! https://t.co/ewTSTjx3t7
— Esther Crawford ✨ (@esthercrawford) November 5, 2022
“Power to the people,” the update notes read. “Your account will get a blue check mark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”
All the rest — like half the ads and the ability to post longer videos in the app — will be “coming soon.”
Okay, fine. Musk’s previous tweets decrying the “lords and peasants” Twitter blue-check status quo, and how he intended to change it, led enough verified Twitter users to head to the App Store over the weekend and prepare to fork over the stupid $8 to keep their badge. Only …
… the Twitter Blue price, as I see it listed now in front of me in both the App Store and directly from the Twitter website, is still set at $4.99/month. I wondered at first if that’s some kind of early-bird discount, which is the kind of question I’m sure Twitter’s communications team could clear up if Musk hadn’t reportedly laid off all but two of them.
Delaying the new blue-check rollout
The New York Times on Sunday afternoon got to the bottom of everything — with a clarification that, if Twitter was a normal company, you’d have expected to come from the company’s own messaging itself rather than a newspaper having to figure out what the hell is going on.
Long story short, Twitter seems to have made the decision to delay the launch of the new verified badges until November 9 — one day after the US midterm elections. That’s according to a Twitter manager, who confirmed the news to the Times.
In short: Don’t fork over money for Twitter Blue this weekend thinking you’ll get the blue-check badge right away.