AARP Eye Center
Best-selling author Stephen King was adamant that he had no intention of paying to retain the blue check mark next to his username on Twitter.
Such check marks appear beside certain Twitter handles that the company previously determined “indicate active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest that Twitter had independently verified based on certain requirements.” Now, the blue check might mean a Twitter Blue subscriber.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
“$20 a month to keep my blue check? [Bleep] that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” King tweeted in October, referring to the Twitter Blue subscription tier that Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, said folks would have to buy into to keep their check marks.
Musk responded with his own tweet: “We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Social media subscription rates
Meta Verified, which includes Facebook and Instagram. $11.99 a month, not yet available in the U.S.
Snapchat+. $3.99 a month, $21.99 for six months, $39.99 a year.
Twitter Blue. $8 a month, $84 a year.
In a plot twist some social media denizens will find as disturbing as any in King’s novels, you, too, may have to pay the biggest social media companies for features that may bolster security — though critics question their actual effectiveness. The fees are popping up not only on Twitter but also on Facebook and Instagram.
And you don’t need to have reached a certain celebrity status to be affected if, like King, you decide to pass. Twitter settled on eight bucks a month or $84 a year for its optional Twitter Blue offering.
Beyond the check mark, the subscription will let users continue to take advantage of two-factor authentication security using text messages. That extra security layer goes away March 20 for nonsubscribers. While two-factor authentication via text isn’t foolproof, Twitter says those who don’t subscribe can still take advantage of two-factor authentication through an app such as Authy or Google Authenticator, or a physical security key produced by various brands.
What’s more, Twitter warns that if you are now enrolled in two-factor authentication via text on the service but have no intention of signing up for Twitter Blue, you must disable this method by March 20. Failure to heed the warning may lock you out of your account.
Here’s how: Inside Twitter on a browser, click More ⋯ | Settings and Support | Settings and privacy | Security and account access | Security | Two-factor authentication. Uncheck the Text message box. And to choose another method, a good idea, check either Authenticator app or Security key.
Disabling two-factor text messaging does not disassociate your phone number from your Twitter account, according to Twitter.
Facebook, Instagram test fees overseas
Meanwhile, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, recently began testing a subscription plan of its own called Meta Verified. The pilot program is in Australia and New Zealand, but the company has clear designs on the U.S. and elsewhere.
Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says Meta Verified will start at $11.99 a month on the web or $14.99 on iOS. The service includes a blue badge and other features Zuckerberg says will provide “extra impersonation personalization against accounts claiming to be you” along with “direct access to customer support.”
He faced immediate blowback.
“Struggling to find the right analogy: Is this like the security team in a gated community only protecting residents who pay extra?” one Facebook user wrote.