Twitter Winding Down Legacy Checkmark

Updated: Mar. 27, 2023 at 9:50 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -That little blue checkmark on Twitter can stay but only if you pay. Some longtime users like William Shatner though say, no way!

As reported in Friday’s Daily Dot com, starting April 1st Twitter says it will be removing all the verified checkmark statuses that *were on the site before Elon Musk took over.

Government, news, entertainment, sports and activists’ accounts got the verification for free. Now Twitter says if you like having that little blue check, verifying who you are you’ll have to pay for that privilege and switch to a “Twitter Blue” or “Twitter Verified Organizations” plan.

In a tweet on Saturday, Shatner expressed frustration with Twitter’s plan to remove blue checkmarks from the accounts of individuals who don’t pay $84 a year (or $8 a month) for its subscription service, Twitter Blue.

“Hey @elonmusk what’s this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter?” he tweeted. “I’ve been here for 15 years giving my ⏰ & witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free?”

Musk responded to Shatner on Sunday in a tweet: “It’s more about treating everyone equally. There shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities.”

The exchange highlights the tension Twitter faces as it rethinks the policies around one of its most iconic features, the blue check, to push as many users as possible to pay for Twitter Blue and bolster its subscription revenue after suffering an advertiser exodus. In the process, Twitter risks alienating some of the VIP users who have long been a key draw for millions to use the platform.

When Twitter launched the checkmarks in 2009 it was about showing that the account was official.

Even before Twitter confirmed plans to phase out so-called “legacy” blue checks for users who didn’t pay for them, there were concerns about the unintended consequences of allowing people to pay for verified accounts and then use those to sow confusion by impersonating others or spreading misinformation.

On Sunday, Monica Lewinsky, an anti-bullying activist with more than one million followers on Twitter, shared a screenshot of several fake accounts bearing her name, including one impersonator who had paid for a blue checkmark.

According to a November 2022 Statista chart Twitter had more than 420,000 verified accounts.

The new subscription plan will either bring more verified accounts to the platform, or alienate some of the VIPs who have long been a key draw for the platform.

Twitter said it will “begin winding down” the “legacy” blue checks for users on April 1. Musk, however, has been known for joking on April Fool’s Day, including in 2018 when he falsely tweeted that his electric vehicle company Tesla had gone bankrupt.