Even as the number of blue check marks dropped as rapidly as Twitter’s valuation under Elon Musk, Stephen A. Smith has no issue with the billionaire’s recent cash-grab attempt.
Twitter was in an uproar last Thursday as it started yanking the prized check mark away from thousands of accounts, , reserving verification status for people subscribed to Twitter Blue, which charges a monthly fee of $8. Although the blue check mark still technically exists, its value has essentially been rendered useless without serving as a viable source of verification.
On the latest episode of his Know Mercy podcast, Smith claimed he wouldn’t pay for a blue check mark. But he lashed out at everyone complaining about Musk’s business decision.
“According to Musk himself, he purchased it for $44 billion,” Smith said of Twitter. “His valuation now shows that Twitter’s worth about $20 billion. That’s a $24 billion drop off. Of course, he’s gonna try to come up with some machination to generate revenue from it.”
“Now has it worked thus far? Hell no, people are in a uproar,” Smith said. “They’re going off about it. So what? He might change his mind…You got people saying, ‘I ain’t gonna buy it, I ain’t gonna buy it, I ain’t gonna buy it.’ Then don’t buy it! It’s not complicated. What is the news about? ‘I don’t wanna pay this $8.’ That’s breaking news?”
And Musk already has changed his mind. Musk initially proposed charging Twitter users $20 to verify their account before settling on $8. After realizing not many people felt inclined to pay the $8, Musk pivoted again, reinstating the check mark for deceased celebrities and high-profile accounts, even if they didn’t subscribe to Twitter Blue. But according to Smith, everyone should just sit back and calmly allow Musk to conduct his business.
“What we have to stop doing is getting upset at people who come up with ideas to generate revenue for themselves. That is what a capitalistic society is all about. We wanna politicize everything. We want to engage one’s moral compass…you don’t want it, don’t get it. This is not breaking news. The man bought Twitter for $44 billion. Did you think he was not gonna try to make money? He’s a bit weird. Looks weird! That’s his thing! He’s always trying to make money.”
“Is it a good idea? No. Does it seem a bit embarrassing? Yes. Does it seem a bit desperate on his part? Sure,” Smith admitted. “My only words are, never sweat people who’ve made money, trying to make more money. It’s what they do. It’s predictable.”
The outrage over Musk changing the way blue check marks are handed out is less about the $8 cost and more about the fact that anyone can get verified if they’re willing to pay the monthly fee. And considering Musk’s propensity to be recklessly impulsive, there was never much desire to trust his new verification process. Instead of users valuing the blue check, announcing “I’m not paying for Twitter blue” almost became a new form of elitism in the last week.
“The man tried to throw a ridiculous charge in your face that you ain’t about to pay for,” Smith said. “Welcome to America, where there’s a sucker born every minute that will purchase something. And I’m not saying if you purchase it you’re a sucker. I’m simply saying, that’s how it goes. Get the hell over it.”