Twitter accounts that were verified before Elon Musk bought the social media platform will see their blue checkmarks disappear in a matter of days.
Following the billionaire’s purchase of the social network last year in a heavily-indebted US$44 billion deal, Twitter reported on Thursday that from April 1, it will withdraw the verified status of accounts that were verified as significant by Twitter before Musk’s acquisition, unless they have enrolled in Twitter Blue or the Twitter Verified Organizations plan for businesses.
Twitter Blue costs money, at USD 8 or USD 11 depending on whether you are signing up from a PC or mobile device (Apple customers pay USD 11).
It is one of the first changes in policy after Elon Musk took over the platform, and described the entire verification exercise as “corrupt.”
Twitter has made the blue verification mark a key aspect of its Twitter Blue subscription service, which Musk thinks is the best way to both enjoy and enhance the platform.
The billionaire believes that increasing the number of paying subscribers would help solve Twitter’s bot problem.
Paying Blue subscribers are given priority in replies and searches, which helps to combat scams and spam.
They also have fewer ads and so is the ability to edit tweets.
Prior to Musk’s takeover, many public figures and journalists were verified without having to pay for the subscription service, which helped establish the authenticity of statements and reports from those accounts and made Twitter a more reliable source of news over the years.
In 2009, Twitter introduced verified accounts to separate real accounts from fake ones, all for free.
Prior to Musk’s takeover, there were over 420,000 verified accounts on Twitter.
Musk allowed anyone to get a blue checkmark, and after he took over, Twitter modified the description of legacy verified accounts to indicate that they might not be noteworthy, with Musk claiming responsibility for the change in wording.
Twitter has since made it clear that verified users can lose their badges if they change their Twitter names.
New accounts can also not access Twitter Blue for the first 90 days.