Twitter Blue subscription service expands to Saudi Arabia

The service offers early access to features such as edit tweet, longer video, NFT profile pictures and custom app icons

The Twitter Blue service is now available in 12 countries. PA
Powered by automated translation

The Twitter Blue subscription service launched by Elon Musk to raise fresh revenue has been expanded to six more countries, including Saudi Arabia.

France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain have also been added, making it 12 regions in total to which users can subscribe to it.

The subscription adds a blue checkmark to an account and offers early access to features such as edit tweet, longer video, NFT profile pictures and custom app icons.

The initial launch of Twitter Blue led to turmoil as a wave of fake accounts with the new blue ticks parodied US presidents, well-known dead people and large companies.

The blue check mark was previously reserved for the verified accounts of politicians, famous personalities, journalists and other public figures.

Newly created Twitter accounts are not able to subscribe to Twitter Blue for 90 days.

In the United States, Twitter Blue costs $11 per month on Apple's iOS and Android, while it is slightly cheaper at $8 for the web version.

In Saudi Arabia, it will cost 42 riyals ($11.2) per month.

Mr Musk's efforts to ramp up revenue come after he said the company was losing $4 million per day.

Twitter lost at least half of its major advertisers in the weeks after Mr Musk became its chief executive, representing a loss of about $750 million, a report by non-profit group Media Matters found in November.

“These advertisers have accounted for nearly $2 billion in spending on the platform since 2020, and over $750 million in advertising in 2022 alone,” the report said.

Mr Musk cut thousands of jobs after acquiring Twitter, reportedly reducing headcount to about 1,300 active, working employees, including less than 550 full-time engineers — down from about 7,500 before his acquisition.

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Mr Musk said in a tweet on November 4.

In December, he likened the company to a “plane that is headed towards the ground at high speed with the engines on fire, and the controls don’t work”.

He is also moving ahead with plans to introduce a payments feature on its platform. The company has applied for regulatory licences across the US.

On Thursday, Twitter announced that it will end free API access and that a paid basic tier will be available instead.

More details will be released next week, it said.

Updated: February 03, 2023, 2:15 PM