Twitter Blue sparks debate as celebs & users react to new verification system, changing checkmarks and authentication rules.
Last Thursday, many Twitter users might have noticed their blue checkmarks suddenly vanishing or fading out. Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion in November, promised to free the social platform from what he dubbed the “lords & peasant” system by introducing Twitter Blue. He mentioned that he would remove checkmarks from “legacy” verified accounts (those who received the checkmark for free) for months. However, a considerable outcry from celebrities has caused some flip-flopping of the new verification system’s rules.
So, how does Twitter Blue work? It simply allows anyone to pay $8 a month (or $84 a year), provide a phone number to verify their identity and purchase the verified checkmark. Those affiliated with Twitter will also have a square badge and various other options for government accounts or big businesses. For example, the Pope’s blue checkmark disappeared on Thursday but was replaced with a gray one on Friday, indicating he was part of a “government or multilateral organization.”
Some other “perks” of the Twitter Blue subscription service include access to the edit button, SMS two-factor authentication, and the ability to compose tweets up to 10,000 characters. Subscribers will also receive a “boost” to their tweet rankings, resulting in a more effective SEO-focused account. Any Twitter account that has existed for more than 30 days can purchase a blue checkmark.
The entire concept aimed to prevent fake verified accounts from impersonating official accounts, which had been on the rise since hoax accounts were created during Hurricane Sandy. Ironically, there are more fake accounts, such as the fake New York Times tweet posting about a hand-shaped M&M cookie over Greek salad called “King’s Hand.”
Other fake account incidents involved a J.K. Rowling impersonator tweeting an apology for her controversial statements, a Nintendo impersonator posting an image of Mario making an obscene gesture, and a parody of Rockstar’s account announcing a fake Grand Theft Auto Showcase.
But do Twitter users love it? Reactions have been mixed; some are upset, some are for it, and some are just confused. Basketball superstar and budding actor LeBron James (Space Jam 2) was unimpressed by the new verification method. Even renowned horror author Stephen King expressed his confusion, tweeting, “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.”
The disappearance and reappearance of blue ticks have flooded the internet this weekend, particularly when they vanished from the accounts of famous deceased individuals like Anthony Bourdain, Kobe Bryant, and Chadwick Boseman. This raises questions about the authenticity of Twitter Blue and the consent needed to apply.
While some have regained their blue ticks on Twitter, not everyone will. Rumours suggest that Musk paid out of his own pocket to restore blue ticks for some personalities and celebrities’ accounts. However, having millions of followers does not guarantee free account verification, and even with over 21 million followers, Ryan Reynolds has not yet regained his blue checkmark. It seems people need to either DM Musk for their status back, pay for Twitter Blue, or accept not having it and move on.