Deep in Elon Musk’s Twitter replies are the likely hints of the flailing social media CEO’s next policy change. Twitter Blue subscribers, who pay the minimum $8 a month for the privilege of a “verified” checkmark and nebulous other perks like (maybe) fewer ads, will soon be the only ones allowed to vote in important polls, according to a Monday tweet from Musk.
The suggestion came from a user in response to Musk’s poll asking all of Twitter if he should resign. And clearly, Musk liked @Unfilteredboss1's idea better than the billionaire liked the outcome of the vote. “I will abide by the results of this poll,” Musk initially tweeted. So far though, he has yet to make any indication of immediately stepping down. Instead, he’s appeared to look for outs—like the Blue maneuver or humoring bot-based “deep state” conspiracy theories.
Previously, Musk tweeted that major policy changes to the social media platform would be decided by polls. If the Boring Company CEO is to be believed here, access to that power will soon be limited to those willing to pay for his favor.
Currently, Twitter Blue is only available in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. After a tumultuous back and forth and many adjustments, under Musk’s leadership, the paid subscription tier now starts at $8/month for U.S. computer users. It’s more expensive elsewhere and on iOS, and is not available on Android. Buying into Blue gets users a checkmark, a bookmarks folder they can organize, custom icons and site themes, a tweet edit function, and a few other perks. And, moving forward, Blue users could become the site’s de-facto board of directors—swaying decisions about the company’s direction.
The idea of gatekeeping voting rights to those with means and a financial stake is, obviously, not new. And though Twitter is a private company and not a government, the change would run directly counter to much of what Musk has publicly said about the platform, “free speech,” and democracy. Restricting policy polls to Blue users means a voice for just a few (specifically, those most likely to be Musk’s biggest fans).
Musk’s two-month Twitter reign has been deeply chaotic thus far, and obviously not everything he tweets should be taken seriously. However, some of the Tesla CEO’s online posts regarding his companies have led to a version of the changes, as initially described. For instance, the first public hints that he wanted to buy Twitter emerged in his tweets. And, once owner, the bulk of his snap changes to the platform have been previewed in brief posts—either from Musk or from company accounts. So, as nice as it would be to ignore everything the man says on the internet, sometimes his tweets matter for the rest of us.
Gizmodo reached out to Twitter for further clarification and comment on the potential polling change, but did not hear back from the company—which has reportedly dissolved its communications department. The many other companies led by Musk also rarely respond to media inquiries.