Aside from news of billionaire Elon Musk having finally bought Twitter, the other most reported item about it is the $8 (Rwf8,000) monthly fee he wants to charge users for the Blue service, which includes the platform’s coveted verified badge. To make it more affordable to subscribers in low-income countries, he promises the fee will be adjusted by “country proportionate to purchasing power parity.” One cannot quibble with the new owner looking to make money from his pricey investment. Except for concerns about the fee being a core criterion seems to overlook the idea behind the verified badge, which is to authenticate the person using it is who they say they are. Verification is important because it ensures the integrity of accounts and conversations on the platform. Inviting anybody with $8 will only enable bad actors to compromise this integrity. An actor with malicious intent can easily impersonate a public figure or business entity and start spewing all manner of garbage and disinformation in the name of the victim, which the bought blue badge would appear to sanction. It is the threat such imposters pose that led to the idea of the verified badge when it was first introduced in 2009. Though Musk has appointed a team to look into the verification question and has said Twitter “cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences,” not all are convinced. General Motors, a notable advertiser on the platform, has already pulled out of the platform indicating the disquiet some of the major account holders must have. The dissent is however much broader. One industry expert estimates that of the roughly 300,000 verified accounts on Twitter only about 25 per cent would be willing to pay the monthly fee. If this turns out to be true, it will be a major blow to Must and the investors who have joined him in the $44 billion buyout. Include in the rank of dissenters a fair number of subscribers in this continent, some of whom I’ve seen on the platform murmur how the verification badge is not worth a cent let alone the $8, and don’t care to lose it. And, speaking of Africa, it surprises some that Twitter should deserve more than mere mention when discussing the continent’s social media landscape. For all the feisty volubleness Twitter is known for, it surprises it ranks rather low in the hierarchy of usage in the continent. It places sixth with the lowest number of users in the continent after WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook, for instance, has a combined subscription of about 23.5 million users in the East African Community. Twitter has only about 2.6 million subscribers in the region. Yet it is not about numbers. The microblogging site is arguably the most consequential of the social media platforms for the impact Twitter has had over the years mobilising for collective action and social change. The #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment is an obvious example of this mobilisation globally or in Africa actions such as the #ShutItAllDown movement against gender-based violence in Namibia. The microblogging site has also distinguished itself as the most favoured platform by public and private institutions alike to issue their official announcements and statements. Few, if any, government, business or other institution and their leaders does not have an official Twitter account through which some of their most important pronouncements are issued. And because of this presence by the public and private institutions and their leaders it, by the same token, removes them from official isolation that often insulates them from being called out when something is amiss. Their presence on the platform makes them more reachable to the public petitioning and demanding accountability from leaders of businesses and other institutions, including governments and their various departments. This aiding holding to account, it might be argued, accords the microblog utility value Elon Musk’s ownership could safeguard if not strengthen. But he is famous for his unpredictability. What we can be sure of therefore is that Twitter will remain “infuriating and fascinating, disgusting and enlightening, full of very nice people and intelligent interlocutors, along with the usual cohort of angry losers, bored juveniles, and wannabe keyboard heroes.” Because of this, The Atlantic Magazine commentator uttering those words offers general advice some might find useful. He urges users of the platform to be less personally invested in it. Remember, he says, that Twitter is a forum, not a lifestyle. It’s not therapy. It’s not where you’ll save the world or crush your enemies. It’s just people, some of whom are good and some of whom are horrendous jerks, talking to one another.