No More Ad-Free Content with Twitter Blue

The day after Chief Twit (Elon Musk) announced new radical changes for Twitter Blue ($19.99 a month fee and ‘verification badge’) by November 7th comes word the service may soon stop offering Ad-Free content.

When Twitter Blue began rolling out in the US last fall, the company positioned ad-free articles as one of the main reasons to subscribe. A little more than a year later, it looks like Twitter will discontinue that feature. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company plans to stop offering Twitter Blue customers the ability to access ad-free articles from publishers.

The Journal did not state how soon Twitter plans to implement the change. However, based on recent reporting that the company’s new owner Elon Musk wants to raise the price of Twitter Blue as early as November 7th, it’s likely to come sooner rather than later. It would also appear to be one among a handful of changes Musk wants to make to the service. Most notably, he reportedly wants to make verification a Twitter Blue perk.

So then what the heck would users be paying $20 a month for…other than ‘verification badge’.  However the majority of existing verified users have said they refuse to pay a monthly fee for something which was free prior. Of course Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this and were sending out phishing emails from a  Gmail account yesterday claiming people could keep their existing free verification badge for life….provided they click a link and provide their phone number, email, Twitter Handle and Password on Google Doc emended on a Russian website.  Google has since deactivate the link to said Google Doc.

I really wonder if Twitter is going to survive into next year or for that mater the rest of the year (all 60 days of it). Tech Crunch’s Natasha Lomas provided an interesting theory when discussing how Musk does plan on compiling with the EU’s DSA compliance for a platform.

DSA compliance for a platform like Twitter will likely require a whole team in and of itself. A team that should be starting work ASAP. The comprehensive EU framework for regulating “information society services” and “intermediary services” across the bloc spans 93 articles and 156 recitals — and is due to start applying as soon as next year for larger platforms. (It’s February 17, 2024, for all the rest.)

Penalties for violations of the incoming regime can scale up to 6% of global annual turnover — which, on Twitter’s full year revenue for 2021, implies potential fines of up to a few hundred million dollars apiece. So there should be incentive to comply to avoid such costly regulatory risk. (Er, unless Musk’s strategy for “saving” Twitter involves dismantling the business entirely and running its revenue into the ground.)

They could be on to something here. Raising the price of Twitter Blue is bad enough, but removing Ad-Free content is going to cause users to cancel their subscriptions which will mean a significant drop in revenue.  On Tuesday, November 1st comes news of Twitter’s Chief Consumer Officer Sarah Personette (in charge of Twitter’s ad sales business) had resigned (as of Friday, October 28th, the day after Chief Twit took over and fired existing Twitter CEO, CFO, Legal Counsel and Head of Legal Policy). Some advertisers, including General Motors have temporarily suspended their Twitter advertising campaigns after the take-over/merger of Twitter by Musk. Musk had already talked about cutting 25% to 75% of Twitter’s staff with layoff’s happening before November 1st (which they did not). Perhaps Chief Twit is simply waiting for employees to quit on their own…

via Engadget