(Reuters) – Twitter Inc on Saturday launched a subscription service for its social media platform for $8 a month that includes the blue checkmark “verified” badge, offering an updated version on Apple’s App Store.
In an update to Apple iOS devices, Twitter said those who “sign up now” can receive the sought-after blue checkmark next to their user names, “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”
A blue check mark next to a person’s user name means Twitter has confirmed that the account belongs to the person or company claiming it.
According to the iOS notification, other benefits in the update include “half the ads”, the ability to post longer videos to Twitter and priority ranking for quality content.
Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk flagged the new service earlier this week in his push to monetize the social media network and make it less reliant on ads. Twitter is currently free for most users.
Twitter’s update said the new service with verification will be available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
“As soon as we confirm it’s working well in the initial set of countries and we have the translation work done, it will roll out worldwide,” Musk said in a tweet on Saturday.
However, according to a tweet from Twitter’s early stage products executive Esther Crawford on Saturday, the new Twitter Blue service is available but has not yet gone live.
“The new Blue isn’t live yet the sprint to our launch continues but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time,” she said in a tweet.
Earlier this week, Crawford went viral after she retweeted a photo of herself sleeping on the office floor at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters after Musk’s takeover.
“When your team is pushing round the clock to make deadlines sometimes you #SleepWhereYouWork”.
(Reporting by Rhea Binoy in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)