Opinion: The Flaws and Current Situation With Twitter Blue

By Alberto Roca, Staff Writer

I am going to give a lot of background to this situation, so skip to ‘The Situation As It Stands Currently’ if you’re already very familiar with it.

It can be almost unanimously agreed that Twitter has experienced a downgrade in user convenience and freedom since Elon Musk completed his purchase of the network company in October. He has made a few alterations to the company which, in my understanding as a non-user, and in the accounts of other users, can undoubtedly be seen as disimprovements rather than improvements. Most users would already agree that Twitter was already a network riddled with bots, trolls, and general masses of users seen as ‘ignorant, easily offended, and entitled’, as evidently seen by members of Gen Z. One of the “disimprovements,” in particular, was especially laughable — the Twitter Blue subscription.

If you aren’t already aware of this subscription, it is a monthly payment of $7.99 USD which grants a user a blue checkmark on their profile, which is publicly seen by all other users, as well as a number of other features, greater than or equal to one in my understanding, which I won’t get into the depth of. As of the day I am writing this, November 30th, the subscription is currently unavailable to users that make a new account.

This subscription was a negative implementation in the company for a number of reasons, a significant amount of them being obvious. The network has lost many of its users, around 1 million of them, according to several sources, following Elon Musk’s purchase, and more or less presumably because of the implemented subscription. If you are more aware of the situation, you likely know that there is a specific detail about the subscription that is practically the main reason why its implementation was a mistake — the algorithm.

The fact that this subscription will likely be reinstated once it is upgraded to be more efficient just shows that Musk hasn’t given thought to how this subscription is truly affecting those who don’t pay for it. The reason why the algorithm was implemented, according to Musk himself in a Twitter post, was to cut down on the bots and scammers that have been, and still are, present on the platform. However, the biggest flaw with this ‘plan’ is that it is only effective towards a small percentage of the population, being those bots and scammers, while others who don’t pay for it and aren’t maliciously active on the network are flooded into the same algorithm, rarely to be seen making a post or comment. It is not only the algorithm, which blatantly silences the majority of users, that makes this system terribly ineffective. The checkmark system as well, being the main gist of the subscription, was clearly not thoroughly pondered as well.

I will keep the checkmark argument of this update short and simple. Individuals were abusing the checkmark to impersonate people and companies on the platform. This is a problem for self-explanatory reasons. Yes, those impersonators were paying the monthly charge, but the taste of impersonating them with whatever ‘justified’ reasons they may have is just too sweet of a taste to resist, almost as sweet as having full control over the voices of an enormous community. The general population of this group is not significant as well, to make that detail clear.

The Situation As It Stands Currently

There seems to be a main reason as to why the subscription was delayed, besides the adjustments made for impersonators. It was to avoid the 30% fee charged by Apple’s main system software for downloading applications, The App Store. I’m not too familiar with how revenue works with fee deductions and such, but I can assume it will take a significant portion of revenue from Musk if he implements the subscription now. As of December 12th, the subscription has been reinstated, with a slight change. Users on the web will have to pay $8 a month, and users which purchase it from an iOS device will have to pay $11. In addition, official companies will receive a gold checkmark, which is a fair-enough improvement. The complete instated system is simple, and better yet – instated with simple impulsiveness. I don’t have a strong prediction as to how Twitter’s decline will come to a close – whether it will collapse entirely or get ‘back on track’, cannot be said for sure.

One account fundamentally brings this uncertainty altogether. It is from a teacher in this school, who preferred not to be named, who made this statement: “I don’t use it anymore, with what’s happening, and I also feel like it’s just better for me to just stay out of the drama out there and whatnot. . .”I might get back into it depending on what happens, you know?”

Twitter has just always been a toxic platform for society in general, so whether its fall is a good thing or not depends on your perspective.