Paid and legacy Twitter verification now indistinguishable
Platform balks at April 1 deadline, tweaks wording instead
Following an announcement last month that Twitter would be "winding down" its "legacy verified program" on April 1, those lucky enough to possess a coveted blue tick waited for the symbol to disappear off their accounts over the weekend.
And waited... And waited...
It seems that a high-profile backlash against the incoming $8 subscription fee among Twitter's most valuable users has led CEO Elon Musk to flip-flop once again because, despite the April Fools' Day deadline, popular accounts noticed the tick had stuck around.
The charge was led by LeBron James, professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, who has 52.8 million followers on the platform. On the eve of supposed tick annihilation, he tweeted:
Welp guess my blue ✔️ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain't paying the 5. 🤷🏾♂️— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 31, 2023
The post has been viewed some 67.2 million times. As of today, however, James's blue tick remains steadfastly in place.
Why? Anxious verified Twitter users, like William Shatner, noticed a subtle rewording if one were to click on a checkmark.
It now reads: "This account is verified because it's subscribed to Twitter Blue or is a legacy verified account," which Shatner described as a "good compromise."
Is it, though? It's misleading for one. Users are now unable to distinguish between paid and legacy verification, as though the only value of the Twitter Blue subscription is to dupe people into thinking it's a legacy checkmark account.
There is or was, we've seen, a way to search in Twitter for just legacy verified accounts, but who can remember to do that or assume it'll keep working.
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Meanwhile, a host of media organizations, including the New York Times, also announced that they would not be shelling out to keep their tick. Checkmarks for organizations are gold and cost $1,000 a month, plus more to verify affiliate accounts.
"We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts, except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes," a spokesperson for the newspaper added.
According to the Washington Post, the top 10,000 accounts are due to keep their legacy ticks regardless of whether they paid, but the NYT, the 24th most-followed account, has lost its checkmark, suggesting that the move is personal.
Other media companies refusing to pay include CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Washington Post, and Vox.
The White House also said it would not pay the fee to keep its staff's official profiles verified. "It is our understanding that Twitter Blue does not provide person-level verification as a service. Thus, a blue check mark will now simply serve as a verification that the account is a paid user," White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty told staffers in an email Friday – although this is no longer strictly the case.
In the meantime, for anyone wishing to join the hallowed halls of Twitter Blue, that'll be $8 from now on, thank you. We asked Twitter to comment on the reasoning for yet another U-turn and were told: "💩" ®
PS: Retweets now appear as normal tweets in the 'Following' tab on Twitter; you have to click on them to see who RT'd it into your timeline, which is a bit confusing. And we've noticed the Twitter logo has been changed to the Dogecoin meme-logo. For. Some. Reason.