Twitter chief executive Elon Musk has announced plans to sell blue verification badges as part of an $8-a-month subscription plan. But half of frequent U.S. Twitter users said they wouldn’t use the social media platform if it required a monthly subscription, according to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll.
Musk outlined Tuesday the new payment structure as part of a plan to fight spam accounts and squeeze revenue. The tech entrepreneur tweeted a meme Wednesday that said users may still use Twitter for free but without benefits.
Among Twitter users, millennials, men and Black and Hispanic Americans reported being more likely to pay a subscription fee in the survey.
The Harris Poll, a global market research and consulting firm, conducted the survey from Oct. 28 to Oct. 20, after Musk took over the company, among a nationally representative sample of 2,063 U.S. adults, with 1,212 being Twitter users.
The survey found that younger Americans, parents with young children, Black Americans and men are among the groups of people that use the platform the most.
About two-thirds of Twitter users support Musk’s Twitter takeover, especially Republicans, parents with young children, men and millennials, according to The Harris Poll. And more Republicans, millennials, men and Black Americans said they spend more time on the platform now that Musk owns it.
Conservative users who celebrated Musk’s acquisition were recently dismayed by the billionaire's decision to delay the reinstatement of suspended accounts, crushing hopes former President Donald Trump would be allowed back on the platform soon.
Free speech important for some Twitter users
The survey found more Twitter users think Musk will have a positive impact increasing free speech on the internet and freedom of the press, compared to people who don’t use the platform.
Generation Z users, however, believe Musk will have a negative impact on Twitter’s product quality, freedom of press, profitability and free speech on the internet.
Republican and white users, meanwhile, think Musk will have a positive impact on free speech on the internet and freedom of the press.
Musk has described himself as a "free speech absolutist" and criticized how Twitter moderates its users but has yet to make any major changes to the platform’s content moderation policies.
Musk said Wednesday he met with civil rights groups to discuss how “Twitter will continue to combat hate & harassment & enforce its election integrity policies.” He also said Twitter’s content moderation council “will include representatives with widely divergent views.”
After Musk bought Twitter, hate speech spiked on the platform, according to a study by Montclair State University.
Users expect big changes in Musk’s Twitter
Seven in 10 Twitter users expect changers in their experience on the platform now that Musk is in charge. Close to two-thirds of users think Musk will improve Twitter as a product.
Half of white and nearly half of millennial, Gen X and boomer users said Twitter will improve under Musk, but Gen Z and people of color are more skeptical.
So far, one of the biggest changes Musk has proposed has been the new subscription plan, which will offer users verification and other benefits such as priority in replies, mention and search, and half as many ads.
The verification process is now free for users who meet certain requirements.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Half of users say they won't pay for Twitter subscription plan