Twitter is on a mission to separate the cool kids from the wannabes by removing the blue verification badges from thousands of accounts that were once verified. It’s all part of their master plan to promote their premium subscription service, Twitter Blue.
This move has sparked confusion and backlash among users, celebrities, and public figures who have lost their badges.
The History of Verification Badges on Twitter
Introduced in 2009, the blue checkmarks were originally created to identify high-profile users and public organizations. Verification badges quickly became a status symbol and a sign of authority on the platform. However, with Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, at the helm, changes were imminent.
Paying for Verification
Musk recently announced that users who wish to retain their verification badges must pay $84 a year to subscribe to Twitter Blue, which offers exclusive features such as the ability to undo tweets, bookmark folders, and reader mode.
The Removal of Verification Badges
As the new policy took effect on Thursday, users began noticing the disappearance of their blue checkmarks.
Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Cristiano Ronaldo, Oprah Winfrey, and Justin Bieber, public figures such as Bill Gates and Pope Francis, journalists such as Christiane Amanpour and Rachel Maddow, and politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Ilhan Omar were among those who lost their verification badges.
Reactions to the Removal of Verification Badges
While some users found humor in losing their verification badges, others expressed frustration or anger. Some users even reported glitches, with their checkmarks disappearing and reappearing multiple times.
Celebrities like Stephen King and LeBron James clarified that they did not pay for Twitter Blue to retain their badges, while Musk confirmed that he was paying for a few accounts himself.
Impersonation and Misinformation Concerns
The removal of legacy verification badges also raises concerns about the spread of misinformation and impersonation on the platform.
Fake accounts posing as celebrities or public figures who have lost their verification badges have already been created, and the authenticity of accounts representing government agencies or organizations that have lost their verification badges has also been questioned.
How Twitter’s New Verification System Works
Twitter has stated that its new verification system is designed to provide more context to how an account was verified.
Twitter Blue subscribers can now choose between gold, grey, and blue badges, depending on whether they verify their phone number, email address, or both.
Despite this, some users have argued that the new system is unfair, confusing, and undermines the credibility of the platform.
Musk’s Defense of Monetizing Verification
Musk has defended his decision to monetize verification as a way to democratize content on the site. He aims to make Twitter more profitable and sustainable and plans to introduce more features and improvements for Twitter Blue subscribers in the future.