72% of Twitter Users Say $8 a Month is Too Expensive for Verification. Has Musk Messed Up?

Survey reveals Americans don’t think a pay-for-verification plan will lead to a better Twitter, but remain optimistic about Twitter’s future under Musk.
Catherine McNally, Author
Chris Lewis, Editor
Last updated Nov 10, 2022

It’s official: Elon Musk has taken over Twitter. And it hasn’t taken him long to roll out a handful of changes including firing top executives, revising content moderation policies, and most recently, proposing a pay-to-play system for Twitter’s blue checkmark verification system.

His changes are controversial, and many worry these updates could give rise to misinformation or a poor user experience on the social media platform. Some, like Stephen King, have gone so far as to voice their concerns on Twitter and directly chastised Musk for the abrupt shifts in the company’s policies.

Our team here at All About Cookies wanted to find out how people feel about the recent changes at Twitter, so we surveyed 1,250 U.S. adults to better understand whether they agree with Musk’s changes, as well as what they think the future holds for the social platform.

In this article
Key findings
How Americans feel about Twitter’s blue verification checkmark
How much would Twitter users pay to be verified?
How many Americans think Twitter will be better with Elon Musk as CEO?
Social media tips from All About Cookies
Methodology

Key findings

  • Only 28% of U.S. adults think a pay-for-verification system would result in a better Twitter experience.
  • The majority (54%) of Twitter users use the verification checkmark to help determine who to trust on the platform.
  • 28% of Twitter users said they would pay the proposed $8 a month fee for verification — 44% wouldn’t pay anything.
  • Respondents were more optimistic than not about the future of Twitter’s content and share price with Musk as CEO.

How Americans feel about Twitter’s blue verification checkmark

A quick look at Musk’s Twitter profile shows a mix of responses to the proposed $8 monthly fee for the verification checkmark. Some users are firmly against the fee, while others don’t seem bothered.

We asked our survey respondents whether they think a pay-for-verification approach to Twitter’s checkmark would help the platform or not. About a quarter (28%) said that a monthly fee would improve the platform’s user experience, while almost half (45%) didn’t think the fee would result in a better user experience.

Of course, not everyone has strong feelings about Musk’s proposed verification fee, with 27% of U.S. adults saying they have no opinion or aren’t sure whether the fee would improve the Twitter experience.

45% of U.S. adults think requiring payment for Twitter's blue verification checkmark wouldn't result in a better experience on the platform.

54% of Twitter users say the blue verification checkmark helps them determine who to trust on Twitter.

Currently, Twitter requires users to apply for verification, stating that their account must be “authentic, notable, and active.” The platform goes on to outline specific guidelines for authenticity, notability, and activity by category, including journalists, government officials, and entertainers.

Though the verification system doesn’t ensure content from verified profiles is always reliable, our survey found that the majority of Twitter users (54%) use the verified checkmark to help determine who to trust on the platform. The remaining 46% said they don’t use the checkmark to help determine trustworthiness.

A small majority of U.S. adults say the Twitter verification checkmark helps them determine which accounts to trust.

How much would Twitter users pay to be verified?

The amount U.S. adults would pay to show other Twitter users their account is verified varies, but most lean toward not paying a cent.

We found that more than 4 in 10 Twitter users (44%) wouldn’t pay anything for a blue checkmark on their account, which isn’t surprising considering verification currently doesn’t cost a dime.

If you consider that many Twitter users also don’t use the platform as a place to promote their business or professional profile, this makes sense. Currently, 0.2%, or 424,000 Twitter profiles are verified out of the platform’s 240 million daily active users.

For those that would find value in a blue checkmark, 27% would pay $1 to $5 a month for the privilege. Similarly, 28% would pay Musk’s proposed fee of $8 a month or more.

Most Twitter users wouldn't pay any price to get the verification checkmark on their profile, while 28% of users would pay Musk's proposed price of $8 a month or more.

How many Americans think Twitter will be better with Elon Musk as CEO?

When he came under fire for proposing the fee for Twitter’s blue verification checkmark, Musk argued that the fee is “the only way to defeat bots and trolls.” He also argued that the platform needs a way to pay the bills that doesn’t rely solely on advertisers, but declined to elaborate on either point at the time. (Fun fact: 19.4%% of Twitter profiles are fake or spam, according to Sparktoro and Followerwonk.)

It’s true Twitter experienced its biggest revenue hit in Q2 of 2022 — a loss the time the company blamed on challenges faced by the ad industry and, ironically, the pending acquisition by Musk.

But many U.S. adults believe that the future of Twitter is still bright (or at least as bright as it currently is), even with Musk in charge. When asked about the company’s share prices, 38% of U.S. adults said prices will improve under Musk’s leadership, with 22% believing they’ll fall. Similarly, 38% also believe that Twitter’s content quality will improve, and 33% said they think content will become more trustworthy with Musk as CEO

Most U.S. adults think the future of Twitter will improve or at least stay the same with Elon Musk as CEO.

Social media tips from All About Cookies

It’s true, social media can be more like a “hive of scum and villainy” than a beacon of truth. It goes without saying that anything you read on Twitter and other platforms should be taken with a grain of salt, but there are other ways to protect yourself from misinformation, fraudsters, and scams on social media.

  • Beware of random links or strange-sounding messages — even if they come from friends. A common trick scammers love to use is hacking accounts and messaging the hacked account’s connections to phish for information or link to a site infected with malware. Not clicking suspicious links is rule number one of social media and online safety.
  • Clear your cookies often. Sites like Facebook are known to use tracking cookies, which can follow you across the internet even when you’re using a different website. This poses a potential threat to your privacy, not to mention an influx of annoying targeted ads. We’ll show you how to clear your cookies on Google Chrome and delete cookies on Safari.
  • Update your privacy settings for all social media and online accounts. Another way hackers try to phish for information is by collecting information about you and your connections on social media. You can lock down your info by changing your online privacy settings or, if you’re ready for a digital detox and don’t want your data lingering online, delete your social media accounts.

Methodology

All About Cookies surveyed 1,250 U.S. adults in November 2022 via Pollfish. Of these, 971 self-reported as Twitter users. Results were stratified across age and gender to create a nationally representative sample.

Author Details
Catherine McNally
Catherine McNally has a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and an M.B.A. in Project Management from Amberton University. She's been a writer and editor for over a decade, and loves to dive into tech topics like internet accessibility and gaming gadgets.