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Elon Musk’s Twitter finally pulls plug on ‘verified’ blue ticks

Musk has looked to position verified accounts as ‘legacy’ – and asked them to pay to keep their markings

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 20 April 2023 19:39 BST
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(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter has finally removed its “legacy” blue checks.

The verification tick marks were originally established as a way for Twitter to ensure that accounts belonged to the people they claimed to be representing. Over time, they became somewhat controversial, with users arguing that they amounted to special treatment for notable people.

When Elon Musk bought the platform, in late October, he quickly looked to paint the verification scheme as a “legacy” feature, and said that he intended to take it away. Instead, users would be able to pay for that blue tick, he said, as part of the ‘Twitter Blue’ offering that he hopes will help solve the the company’s precarious financial situation.

That immediately led to chaos on the platform, as users bought blue verification marks and then posed as other people or legitimate businesses. Since then, Twitter’s policy towards the checkmarks has changed often and without warning, though Mr Musk has always been clear that he would remove those “legacy” checkmarks at some point.

He had initially indicated that it would happen on 1 April, but that did not happen. He then told the BBC that he would remove the marks on April 20, a date that has particular significance to Mr Musk.

As indicated, that happened on Thursday, at around 11am local pacific time. Users with those verified checkmarks saw them disappear from their profile.

The blue checkmark will now only be available to those who pay $8 to Twitter, as part of the Twitter Blue service. Twitter says that it will check whether those users are not impersonating others, though it is not clear how detailed that process is.

Twitter has also added new gold and silver checkmarks to the platform, with the former indicating official organisations and the latter being applied to government accounts. The company will ask at least some of the holders of those special checkmarks to pay for them – though many have indicated already that they will not pay.

April 20 was an eventful day for Mr Musk, whose SpaceX launched the biggest and most powerful rocket ever made from its Texas base. The Starship craft successfully left its launchpad but exploded four minutes later.

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