Ever since Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, some big and unique news has come out of Twitter every day and the trend doesn’t seem to stop yet. Followed by a mass-firing of almost half of Twitter’s workforce and an increased Twitter Blue subscription fee to $8 Dollars, a new disclose has come forward as Twitter will now charge users if they want to send messages to celebrities and famous figures. According to the New York Times, the company is also working on a paid direct messaging feature focused on “Very Important Tweeters.” sources “with knowledge of the matter,” said the platform could soon charge users to send direct messages to high-profile figures, including celebrities and professional athletes.
This step is motivated by the ‘massive drop in revenue’ and Elon Musk wants to make up for his massive Twitter investment as soon as possible. Internal documents reviewed by the Times state Twitter points to an early prototype in which a user is shown asking Post Maline about his favorite records. The message would appear in a special box designated for paid DMs. The company did not provide the exact cost of each VIT message, but said it could be “as little as a few dollars.”There’s no guarantee that paid DMs will ever get a proper rollout, and it remains unclear if the idea was conceived prior to Musk’s acquisition.
The report came a day before Musk highlighted Twitter’s financial woes. The billionaire tech mogul said the company had seen a “massive drop in revenue” as many advertisers have left the platform or paused spending. Companies like Pfizer, General Motors, and Audi have pulled their ads from Twitter, amid concerns over content moderation.
This morning, he also justified his decision to mass dismiss employees. Mr. Musk said that Twitter was losing more than $4 million per day and that impacted the employees who were given severance packages.
“Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company loses over USD 4M/day. Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required.”
Elon Musk is also trying to minimize Twitter’s infrastructure costs. In meetings with engineers, his advisers have proposed saving from $1 million to $3 million in infrastructure costs a day, said three people familiar with the talks. Lieutenants are also looking to make deep cuts to Twitter’s “Redbird” organization, which consists of platform and infrastructure teams. In an onstage interview at the TED Conference in April, Musk said owning Twitter “is not a way to make money. I don’t care about the economics at all.”
Since then, however, the global economy has tipped toward recession, inflation and interest rates have soared and the digital advertising market — which Twitter relies on for revenue — has pulled back. Mr. Musk’s own fortune is tied up largely in shares of his electric automaker, Tesla, whose stock has plummeted.
In an attempt to spin up new lines of business at Twitter, over the past week Mr. Musk and his advisers have dispatched product teams to brainstorm any and all ideas that could quickly bring in money, according to 10 current and former employees and internal documents discussing the matter. Three people who have met with Mr. Musk or his lieutenants said the focus was largely on how to increase revenue.
Mr. Musk’s new Twitter Blue subscription service, which will give subscribers the check mark next to their username, is aiming to begin on Nov. 7 in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, according to internal documents seen by The Times. Subscribers would not need their identities authenticated to get the check mark, the documents suggested.
The documents also noted that there would be “an interim period where the check would be on both Blue subscriber’s accounts and previously verified users.” Eventually, verified accounts that do not pay for Twitter Blue will lose the check marks. There are more than 423,000 verified accounts on Twitter.
The documents also outlined plans for “government accounts to keep their Verified badge without paying for Blue.” Some features for the subscription service already announced by Mr. Musk, including higher rankings for subscribers’ replies and the ability to upload longer videos, would not begin on Nov. 7, according to the documents. A European rollout was also planned, with the Twitter Blue team has worked to align the product with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation privacy law.