Starting April 1, Twitter will remove any blue checkmarks from accounts that were “verified” before Elon Musk’s takeover of the company, according to an announcement on Thursday. Anyone who currently has the blue checkmark and wants to keep it will need to sign up for Twitter Blue, a service that doesn’t actually do much beyond giving you a checkmark.
“On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks. To keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue here,” Twitter said in a tweet.
The social media company directed any organizations that want to buy a checkmark to yet a different page—which speaks to just how confusing Twitter’s “verification” program has become under Musk. Many different types of checkmarks come in many colors. There’s a gold badge for some businesses, while governments get a gray badge. It’s all a confusing mess, to say the least.
In 2009, Tony La Russa, a baseball legend filed a suit against Twitter. La Russa had concerns about the impersonator accounts and verified meant that any account marked with a blue checkmark was confirmed to be owned by this notable person.
Some right-wing media personalities began to view the blue checkmark in a status symbol. This led to calls for the ability to purchase a checkmark after Musk purchased the platform in October 2022. Musk’s rollout of the new Twitter Blue, which charges $8 per month or $11 per month on Apple devices, was a disaster, with several impersonator accounts pretending to be Apple, Tesla and Nintendo while posting highly offensive material.
One person even pretended to be drugmaker Eli Lily and announced insulin was going to be free, which sent the company’s stock plummeting. It stopped offering users the ability to modify their names. That created its own problems for many reasons. Twitter doesn’t actually verify that anyone paying for Twitter Blue is who they say they are.
The checkmark’s actual purpose—verifying an account’s identity—will be completely dead in just a couple of weeks. Every time you see the blue checkmark, you can be sure of one thing. That individual, whatever they are, at least has $8.