Twitter’s Blue Check apocalypse is upon us. Here’s what to know about Twitter’s blue verification
The blue tick on Twitter has long conferred a special status. Only certain accounts – usually those of public figures whose identity has been confirmed – have received the symbol.
Now that is changing.
Departure SATURDAY, many Twitter accounts will lose their mark under the changes made by Elon Musk, the owner of the social media company. Individual users must purchase a subscription to Twitter’s Blue service, which costs $8 per month, to get the badge. Companies that are currently unverified having to pay $1,000 per month if they want a golden check mark verifying their account.
The move, which will help Twitter generate revenue by making certain features exclusive to subscribers, has implications for a range of users on the platform. Here’s what you need to know.
What does the change mean for Twitter users?
For those of you who primarily use Twitter to follow celebrities and news sites, this policy change will affect what you see and read on the service.
You may see fewer tweets from accounts you care about in your timeline, for example, because people who choose not to pay for Twitter Blue will become less visible on the site.
Inside Elon Musk’s Twitter
- Source code leak: Portions of the underlying computer code that Twitter runs on have been leaked online – a rare and major exposure of intellectual property.
- Decrease in value: Elon Musk said Twitter is now worth around $20 billion, according to an email he sent to employees, a significant drop from the $44 billion he paid to buy the company in October.
- Licensed music: Twitter reportedly explored licensing music rights from three major labels before negotiations bogged down following Musk’s takeover of the company last year.
- FTC investigation: The Federal Trade Commission is stepping up an investigation into Twitter’s data and privacy practices and is seeking testimony from Musk.
It may become more difficult for most users to distinguish real people from fake accounts. If checkmarks are removed from the accounts of celebrities who don’t want to pay for Blue, for example, it could become difficult to distinguish their accounts from copycats.
Musk said only posts from paid accounts with blue checks will be visible in Twitter’s “For You” tab, the default timeline of tweets the platform shows you based on your interests. The only exception, he said later, will be posts from unverified accounts you already follow, which will continue to appear in your timeline.
All of this means that it’s likely to become more difficult to discover messages from accounts without the blue ticks. For example, if you follow a lot of sports news and an unverified account tweets sports-related news, you won’t see it in your News Feed unless you already follow that account. In the past, you may have found this content only because it went viral.
A caveat to these likely changes is that Mr. Musk is not known for always following through on his public intentions. So some parts of the checkmark policy might change as Twitter rolls it out.
Will people start paying for checkmarks?
It all depends on whether the account holder derives enough value from having a blue tick to warrant payment.
Celebrities and institutions can choose not to pay because they already have a large number of followers who will continue to see their posts.
The New York Times, which has nearly 55 million Twitter followers, said Thursday it would not pay for the verified badge for its institutional accounts, including @NYTimes. The Times also told its reporters that it would not reimburse them for a Twitter Blue subscription, except in rare cases where it was necessary for the story.
But other types of Twitter users can choose to pay for checkmarks. These include small businesses that use Twitter to market their services and want their content to reach a wider audience. In this scenario, paying for verification will essentially be an advertising expense.
Twitter is about to make some exceptions for companies that can keep their checks without paying. In an internal document, the company said it would let the top 10,000 organizations and top 500 previously verified advertisers retain their status.
What will happen to Twitter?
Among social media companies such as Meta and Snap, Twitter is the smallest social network, and the company continues to shrink in size and relevance.
Mr. Musk has laid off much of Twitter’s staff, leaving the company with fewer than 2,000 employees, down from 7,500 when he took office in October. The site still has issues with bots posting spam and impostor accounts posing as public figures. Security issues, glitches, and bugs are piling up. And some influencers and journalists are migrating to other platforms, including Mastodon, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
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