(NewsNation) — Elon Musk is clearing the air about his $44 billion Twitter purchase by denying a New York Times report that he will lay off workers to avoid having to make payouts. This news comes as major changes are underway for the social media platform.
Twitter’s head of security and integrity says the company is taking the steps to combat the spread of hateful speech on the platform after seeing an exponential rise in racial slurs.
But other big changes continue at Twitter now that Musk is fully into his first full week in charge.
Last week, Musk fired the entire board of directors and named himself as the sole member. He later clarified on Twitter that the move is only going to be temporary.
He’s also floating some additional changes to Twitter’s business model, most notably a paid subscription service for verified users to keep their blue checkmark.
Right now, high-profile users receive a check next to their name as a way to authenticate their status and the information that they provide. But new reports indicate Twitter may begin charging anywhere from $5 to $20 in order to keep that status.
When users began to complain about this new possibility, Musk replied, saying, “We need to pay the bills somehow. Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Musk has brought in a team of savvy tech specialists to help with this transition. One venture capitalist, who is helping Musk, put out a poll asking about this verification process, asking “How much would you pay to be verified and get a blue checkmark on Twitter?”
Nearly 2 million users replied, and 82% of them said they would not pay. But Musk said that this new form of revenue is essential if he wants to continue his mission of removing all the robots, the spam accounts and the inactive users.
Musk, whose account is verified, replied, “Interesting.”
Musk said he’ll release a more comprehensive plan in the coming days or weeks about any sort of paid subscription services.
That announcement might have come on Tuesday, however, when Musk criticized Twitter’s current “blue checkmark system” and tweeted, “Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”
“Price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity,” he tweeted. “You will also get: priority in replies, mentions & search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam, ability to post long video & audio, half as many ads.”
Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion in April, but it wasn’t until Thursday evening that he finally closed the deal, after his attempts to back out of it led to a protracted legal fight with the company. Musk’s lawyers are now asking the Delaware Chancery Court to throw out the case, according to a court filing made public Monday. The two sides were supposed to go to trial in November if they didn’t close the deal by the end of last week.
Musk has made a number of pronouncements since early this year about how to fix Twitter, and it remains unclear which proposals he will prioritize.
He has promised to cut back some of Twitter’s content restrictions to promote free speech, but said Friday that no major decisions on content or reinstating of banned accounts will be made until a “content moderation council” with diverse viewpoints is put in place. He later qualified that remark, tweeting “anyone suspended for minor & dubious reasons will be freed from Twitter jail.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.