Kim Kardashian and Pope Francis are rarely mentioned together. But today the names of Bill Gates, Beyonce, Donald Trump’s former administration, Bill Gates as well as Kim Kardashian have all lost their blue checkmarks on Twitter. Even the social media platform’s founder Jack Dorsey – along with hundreds of thousands or perhaps even millions of other users (including this reporter) – was among those who were “de-verified” on Thursday, as the social media platform is now charging a monthly subscription of $8 for the honor of receiving the blue check.
Some official U.S. Government agencies as well as a multitude of news organisations have also lost the verified status.
Checked but not checked
However, according to multiple reports on Thursday, some blue checks disappeared only to reappear – while some high-profile “legacy” verified accounts didn’t immediately lose their checks. In the case of government agencies, there was supposed to be a transition to a “gray check,” which Twitter has designed for official government accounts – but many haven’t received those yet. In the same way, some congressional members have also been switched to gray government checks, while others have already lost confirmation on their own accounts.
The process could be best described as chaotic, and experts have warned it could lead to a greater risk of impersonation of high-profile users – but also the veracity of the information being shared across Twitter.
Not surprisingly, throughout Thursday #BlueCheckMark, #TwitterBlue, and #Verified trended on the platform, while some who have already subscribed to Twitter Blue fired back by tweeting “Pay the $8” – in reference to the cost of the monthly subscription fee.
By the afternoon, even more people had tweeted that they wouldn’t pay $8.
Blue is not the color to be.
Twitter introduced its verification feature for the first time in 2009 after Tony La Russa, a former baseball manager who sued Twitter when someone impersonated Tony La Russa on the platform. The blue check mark – It’s a check mark on a light blue background, if you want to pick at it. – was meant to assure users that what they saw from verified accounts was a credible or at least well-known source.
Twitter’s “bluecheck” was associated over time with an elite class. The program was suspended for four year before it resumed in 2021.
Only those who pay the fee will be able to receive a verification. although Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday evening that he was “paying for a few personally,”It seems that the wealthy and famous are only rewarded!
It is now a question of whether the blue checkmark means much if its main users are subscribers.
Scott Steinberg, a social media expert who specializes in brand marketing, said that “as with so many other things on social networks the only street cred is the one the public is willing to give it.”
Steinberg continued, “Twitter is a particularly mercantile platform under Elon Musk. Therefore it’s questionable whether there is any remaining value in the blue checks.” As we have seen, since Musk bought the social media firm last year, everything changes with every passing week, and sometimes even day.
Prior to the delay, it was initially planned that payment deadlines would be due on April 1. However, they were now set for April 20. When celebrities, media organizations or other prominent users refuse to pay the monthly subscription fee, there is a possibility that another verification procedure could be used.
The question is whether Twitter Blue will continue to be paid for beyond the next few months.
Steinberg added, “The purpose is to lend credibility.” The idea was to make an audience feel that they could trust the source, but it’s alienated most of them. Blue checks may have some cachet but we’ll see how much.