Twitter reinstates blue verification mark for top accounts – even if they didn’t pay for it
After removing thousands of legacy verification checkmarks on April 20, Twitter is restoring blue checkmarks for large accounts, even if they haven’t paid for a subscription.
Over the weekend, several large accounts (with over a million subscribers) got their verification marks back. However, many of them, including writer Neil Gaiman, footballer Riyad Maharez, musician Lil Nas X, actress Janel Parrish Long and British TV presenter Richard Osman, said they had no paid for the blue badge.
Over the past few days, the drama of Elon Musk & co’s handling of legacy checkmarks has engulfed Twitter with several large and notable accounts losing the verification mark. This included accounts belonging to Pope, Shakira and Lady Gaga. Notably, the pope now has a gray checkmark for government and multilateral organizations.
Around this time, Musk said he “personally paid” for a few accounts such as Lebron James, Stephen King, and William Shantner. But the company seems to be extending this freebie to many accounts.
In March, The New York Times reported that Twitter was considering giving away a free verification mark to the top 10,000 brands and businesses. It’s unclear if Twitter applies the same policy to personal accounts.
A programmer named Travis Brown analyzed accounts that have more than a million followers and said that nearly 110 currently don’t have Twitter verification. Actor Ryan Reynolds and Brazilian social media influencer Felipe Neto are probably the most notable names without a verification mark right now.
Brown’s GitHub page, which posts regular updates on the Blue subscription, noted that only 4.8% of old verified accounts were subscribed to Twitter’s paid plan when the checks were removed.
He tweeted that there had only been a net increase of 12,000 Blue subscription numbers over the past week – mainly due to the company offering subscriptions to accounts with large followings.
Verification has been a hotly debated topic under Twitter’s new leadership. Shortly after taking over the company, Musk launched paid verification, but the move backfired and the site was tainted with fake celebrity and brand accounts.
Twitter is also asking brands to pay for verification in order to run ad campaigns on the platform as part of a lucrative deal. Although the company is emailing various accounts regarding mandatory verification requirements for ads, it has not yet made any changes to ads account page.
Additionally, the social network displays a shortcut to sign up for verified organization services in the sidebar of all accounts.
During the weekend, several people pointed out that Twitter organizational audit incurs a $1,000 non-refundable fee even if the account request is rejected.
Musk is banking on Twitter Blue being a big moneymaker for the company. However, Sensor Tower’s analysis suggested that paid only brought in $11 million from mobile subscriptions in the first three months after launching in December.
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