Thank the bots, your blue check is back on X

If you're popular enough at Elon's party, that is

What Elon taketh away, Elon also giveth. Fee-free blue checks on Twitter are back, but only for users with a certain number of followers who pay for X Premium.

The X overlord decreed on March 27 in a somewhat confusingly worded post that all X accounts "with over 2,500 verified subscriber followers will get Premium features for free and accounts with over 5,000 will get Premium+ for free." That doesn't mean the numbers are only pulled from followers that actually subscribe to an individual's account – it tallies them from followers that are paying X Premium members, we understand.

In other words, if you're popular on X and have noticed your blue check has returned from the dead, you can thank the bots that Musk once railed against, but have become a hallmark of Twitter 2.0.

The not-called-Twittersphere blew up yesterday with a number of once-verified accounts noting that they had been tagged with blue checks against their will while receiving notes that they were getting complimentary X Premium subscriptions because they are "an influential member of the community."

What this effectively means is that legacy verification for notable accounts has returned, albeit in a manner indistinguishable from paid verification.

For those who forgot what happened in late 2022/early 2023, Musk scrapped the old way of getting a vaunted blue check on Twitter, reserved for "active, notable and authentic" accounts that had to apply for the privilege, in favor of handing them out to anyone who paid him $8 a month.

From that point the only way to get a blue check was to be a Twitter/X Premium subscriber. That's now changed, albeit in a way that rewards users not for actually being notable or authentic, but instead for attracting the attention of folks who are already paying for a blue check.

As is the case with much of Musk's flailing to keep X afloat, it's yet another way to artificially inflate the success of the many changes made to the platform since his purchase in 2022, most of which have chased away advertisers, empowered hate speech, and driven the value of his $44 billion purchase downward.

Fidelity, which helped finance Musk's purchase of Twitter, has been a bellwether of the platform's worth in the past two years. It's repeatedly marked the value of its stake in X down, and did so again recently. According to the investment firm, the company has lost 73 percent of its value since Musk took the helm.

After one year under Musk in October 2023, internal documents from the company placed its value at just $19 billion. Based on Fidelity's adjustments in late February, X is worth just $11.9 billion – a loss of more than $7 billion in just four months. ®

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