We Polled Verified Twitter Users to Find Out How Many Will Pay $8 to Keep Their Checkmarks. The Answer? Zero

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At Elon Musk's Twitter, users will soon need to pay $7.99 per month for its Twitter Blue subscription service to gain a blue checkmark — long recognized as a sign of "verification" on the platform.

But will any currently verified users actually pay?

To find out, CNBC Make It reached out to two dozen verified and active Twitter users, mostly influencers and journalists across the political spectrum. We asked if they would ever consider paying any amount of money to keep their blue checkmarks on Twitter.

None of the users who responded plan to pay to remain verified, with most rejecting the idea completely.

The subscription plan — a brainchild of Musk, the company's new billionaire owner and CEO — has received support from many of Musk's fans online, but backlash from a wide swath of high-profile Twitter users in government and media.

In the past, Twitter's blue checkmarks have been used to identify accounts belonging to public figures at risk of online impersonation: A fake account spoofing a journalist could spread election misinformation, and someone pretending to be a celebrity could direct legions of fans to click on malware-ridden links.

Part of the current backlash stems from concern of an uptick in such impersonators. Other users are simply balking at the idea of paying to be "verified" on Twitter, after years of it being free.

On Monday, Musk promised permanent bans for users who impersonate others without labeling their accounts as parody — after several high-profile Twitter users edited their accounts to mimic Musk's own. A day later, Twitter head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth wrote that the company should adopt further "identity verification" processes.

"Paid Verification is a strong (not perfect) signal of humanness, which helps fight bots and spam. But that's not the same thing as identity verification," Roth wrote.

Twitter did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.

'The checkmark comes in handy ... but I'm not paying for it'

Of the Twitter users who responded to our informal poll, none expressed a definite interest in paying any amount of money to remain verified.

Most rejected the idea out of hand. Only four suggested they could potentially be persuaded to subscribe at a particularly low price, if the service included more perks or if enough people signed up to create some kind of social pressure around it.

Ben Smith (344,800 Twitter followers), a journalist and co-founder of news site Semafor, told us that he'll likely take a "wait and see" approach. Part of the decision — for both him and others, he said — will involve how many of his peers decide to pay.

The odds are low, Smith told CNBC last week: "It's at risk of becoming kind of embarrassing if you pay [for Twitter]."

Jason Diamond (29,500 followers), an author and contributor for publications like GQ Magazine, told us that he has no interest in paying to maintain his blue checkmark on Twitter, even though being verified has helped him ward off past issues with would-be impersonators.

"When my first book came out in 2016, I had a few weird experiences with fake accounts pretending to be me for whatever reason. And the checkmark helped me be like, 'Hey, yeah, that's me you heard on NPR. No, that's not really me on Twitter asking you to send money to an address in some former Soviet Republic,'" Diamond said.

"The check mark comes in handy, I suppose," he added. "But I'm not paying for it or likely anything else on Twitter."

Erik Brynjolfsson (194,400 followers), an economist and director of Stanford's Digital Economy Lab, said he could be persuaded to pay for a subscription service that came with more perks — but he won't pay simply to stay verified.

If anything, charging people could harm the social media platform more than a short-term revenue boost might help, he said.

"As an economist, I think the platform should encourage verification — not tax it — and discourage people from posting without being verified," Brynjolfsson said. "Verification improves content quality, so it should be for almost everyone and should be free, unlike other services."

'F--- that, they should pay me'

The responses echo recent public statements from other high-profile Twitter users, too.

Last week, tech journalist Kara Swisher (1.4 million followers) wrote that she "would not pay a dime for verification." FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver (3.5 million followers) noted that even though he can afford the subscription fee, "my reaction is that I've generated a ton of valuable free content for Twitter over the years and they can go f--- themselves."

Similarly, author Stephen King (6.9 million Twitter followers) tweeted: "F--- that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I'm gone like Enron."

In a reply to King's tweet, Musk responded: "We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers."

A Twitter poll posted by Jason Calacanis, a Musk ally and reportedly a new adviser at the social media platform, asked users if they would pay $5, $10, $15 or "wouldn't pay" for the blue checkmark. More than 2 million accounts responded, and 81.5% of them said they wouldn't pay anything.

An additional 10.5% said they'd pay $5, and 5.5% said they'd pay $15.

Musk responded to the poll with one word: "Interesting."

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