‘Power to the people!’ Elon Musk calls Twitter’s ‘lords & peasants’ blue checkmark system ‘bulls**t’

With Twitter now in his possession, billionaire Elon Musk is planning some big changes to the social media platform, including to its blue check mark verification system.

In tweets posted Tuesday, Musk suggested that the problem with the current system is that it rewards fame and fortune to the point that it functions like a feudal system.

Indeed, the current policy explicitly states that “[y]our account must represent or otherwise be associated with a prominently recognized individual or brand.”

Musk calls this a “lords & peasants system” in which only the “lords” — famous people — can participate, while the “peasants” are forced to watch.

He wants to change this system, he continued, by offering a blue check to everybody willing to pay $8/month for it.


“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullsh-t. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” he tweeted.

The only catch, he further explained, is that there would be a “secondary tag” added to the accounts of public figures such as politicians.

Other than that, it’d be an entirely new system.

The responses to this idea were varied. Some said OK, so long as Twitter stops censoring people for spouting dissenting thoughts, ideas, and facts:

Others complained about paying for a blue check:

A large number of leftists tried to accuse Musk of hypocrisy. To hear them tell it, him charging $8/month for extra features is an assault on free speech.

Never mind that people would still be able to use Twitter for free — just without a fancy blue check mark that offers access to a few luxury features.


Others meanwhile noted that the $8/month fee might halt the proliferation of spam/bot accounts.

“One of Elon Musk’s financial backers in the Twitter takeover supported the $8 proposal on Tuesday. The founder and chief executive of Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange that has put $500m into the deal, said he backed the plan because it would tackle vexatious automated accounts – or bots,” according to The Guardian.

“We are supportive of that. We think that’s a great idea … anything that can reduce the bots,” Changpeng Zhao reportedly said.

Of course, some wonder whether a blue check mark system is even needed. It is, in fact.

“The blue tick verification process was brought in by Twitter in 2009 in response to celebrity concerns about impersonation. The programme ran into trouble when Twitter withdrew the verification status from controversial users such as the rightwing personality Milo Yiannopoulos and it was paused for a number of years before resuming it in 2021,” The Guardian notes.

The new system would allow celebrities to continue verifying their own accounts — albeit for a price — to avoid being impersonated. However, considering that celebrities are among the wealthiest Americans, they should have no difficulty paying the fee.

Keep in mind too that $8 is an upgrade from Musk’s original proposal to charge $20/month.

Musk reduced the proposed cost after he received backlash from some angry celebrities like author Stephen King.

“$20 a month to keep my blue check? F–k that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron. … I ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing,” King tweeted Monday.

Not that King had any room to talk about principles given his past behavior and rhetoric.

Nevertheless, Musk responded to the author’s complaints by stressing that he needs a way to pay the bills at Twitter somehow.


But as King said, it’s not really about the money. It’s about a billionaire whom he and other leftists dislike having sway over how Twitter functions.

To be more precise, it’s about a billionaire King hates turning Twitter into something he hates even more, a free-speech zone.


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Vivek Saxena


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