Twitter Strips Blue Checkmarks from Legacy Accounts Unless They Pay for Twitter Blue Subscription

In a move that has caused controversy and confusion, Twitter has stripped its coveted blue checkmarks from legacy accounts unless they pay for the company’s subscription service. This fulfills one of billionaire Elon Musk’s top promises for the platform, despite concerns that it will fuel a wave of impersonations. Musk has been open about his disdain for Twitter’s old verification system and has made it clear that “legacy verified” users would eventually lose their checkmarks.[0] After missing the originally scheduled date on April 1, Musk finally removed the blue checkmark from all accounts unless they opted to pay $8 per month for Twitter Blue. To obtain a verification checkmark, a user must now pay for “Twitter Blue,” while an organization could pay $1,000 a month to receive a gold verification checkmark.[1] Official government accounts automatically receive a grey checkmark on Twitter without charge for the foreseeable future.[2]

The recent move to give away Twitter Blue accounts to high-profile people, even if they don’t want them, is not all that surprising.[3] The billionaire CEO recently admitted that he was “personally paying” for the Twitter Blue subscriptions for LeBron James, Stephen King, and William Shatner after they had publicly announced that they would not sign up for the paid service.[4] However, this move has sparked a “Block the Blue” campaign, which is targeting those paying for Twitter Blue.[5]

After Thursday’s change removed verification from New York City’s official government account, the account tweeted Thursday evening: “This is an authentic Twitter account representing the New York City Government.” However, an impostor account replied, “No, you’re not.[6] THIS account is the only authentic Twitter account representing and run by the New York City Government.”

As blue checks disappeared, users campaigned to block and ignore those who pay up to keep their checkmark.[7] A @BlockTheBlue Twitter account was created and swiftly suspended, while a hashtag of the same name has been trending.[7] Musk’s move to make verification free for a very small subset of influential users has caused speculation that blue checks and possibly Twitter Blue itself are being given to anyone with more than 1 million followers on the service.[8]

In a seemingly unrelated and coincidental change, Twitter also stripped the “government-funded media” label from accounts belonging to Canada’s CBC and NPR, the latter of which had quit Twitter over the labeling because NPR said the label misrepresented the news organization’s editorial independence from the US government.[6]

Overall, this move by Twitter has caused confusion and controversy, with users questioning the value of verification and the ethics of paying for it. It remains to be seen how this will affect the platform’s user base and its reputation in the long run.

0. “Dril and other Twitter power users begin campaign to ‘Block the Blue’ paid checkmarks” Mashable, 21 Apr. 2023, https://mashable.com/article/block-the-blue-twitter-campaign-dril

1. “A-list celebs, news orgs and White House say they won’t pay for Twitter verification” KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco, 21 Apr. 2023, https://www.ktvu.com/news/high-profile-celebrities-news-organizations-and-the-white-house-say-they-wont-pay-for-twitter-verification

2. “Blue check chaos: Twitter policy spurs confusion and scramble to prove authenticity” The Hill, 21 Apr. 2023, https://thehill.com/policy/technology/3963163-blue-check-chaos-twitter-policy-spurs-confusion-and-scramble-to-prove-authenticity

3. “Twitter Users With a Million Followers Are Getting ‘Paid’ Blue Checks, Like It or Not” Rolling Stone, 23 Apr. 2023, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/twitter-blue-badges-added-to-celebrity-accounts-without-subscription-1234722041/

4. “Only 28 legacy verified users signed up for Twitter Blue hours after Elon Musk took away their checkmarks” The Independent, 22 Apr. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/twitter-elon-musk-blue-check-accounts-b2324909.html

5. “Celebrities now working to remove their apparently mandatory Twitter checkmarks” The A.V. Club, 23 Apr. 2023, https://www.avclub.com/celebrities-now-working-to-remove-their-apparently-mand-1850366148

6. “Twitter descends into chaos as news outlets and brands lose verification” CNN, 21 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/21/tech/twitter-verification-chaos/index.html

7. “Twitter Blue Users Paying to Stay Verified Hit by #BlockTheBlue Action” Business Insider, 22 Apr. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-blue-users-paying-stay-verified-hit-by-blocktheblue-campaign-2023-4

8. “Elon Musk’s Twitter Blue sees a modest 28 new signups within a day of legacy checkmark purge” Mashable, 22 Apr. 2023, https://mashable.com/article/twitter-blue-28-signups