The days when Twitter put a little blue checkmark next to public figures' names to avoid issues with celebrity (or company) impersonation are nearly at an end, as yesterday, the company announced it was doing away with "legacy checkmarks" — on April 1st.
Following this change, the only way to be "Verified" on Twitter starting in eight days is to pay $8 a month for the blue tick by subscribing to the platform's premium service called Twitter Blue.
For many online, the move seems so misguided that it could potentially be an April Fools' Day prank, but if that's the case, Twitter is really committing to the bit.
Current "Legacy Checkmark" havers report getting notifications that their status is set to be revoked next Saturday and multiple news outlets have reported the decision as factual. If this is an April Fools gag, it's not a very obvious one.
As many users pointed out, the original purpose of verification on Twitter was to avoid the spread of misinformation by users posing as notable public figures. In fact, when Twitter and Elon Musk introduced paid "blue checks" late last year, it famously faced a wave of pranksters spending $8 to fire off impersonation pranks, which in turn scared off advertisers.
Should Twitter actually do away with "legacy checkmarks," the only remaining way for people to be verified at all would be to subscribe to Twitter Blue. This turns the blue check from a sign that signifies "this is an authentic account of a public figure" into a sign that merely signifies "I pay $8 a month for Twitter's premium service." Many of those who already have subscribed to Twitter Blue for the blue tick know that their badge has basically amounted to a "kick me" sign.
Rumor has it that Twitter knows this, and is supposedly working on a feature that will allow Twitter Blue subscribers to hide the badge from their public profiles. Web engineer Alessandro Paluzzi leaked screenshots of the supposedly in-development feature.
As it stands now, many believe paying for the verification badge amounts to paying for Twitter clout. By making the badge no longer signify that its holder is a notable public figure or verified brand, Twitter is removing the clout associated with it (on top of the "impersonation" can of worms that will almost surely be opened when "legacy checkmarks" are removed).
Should Twitter then allow Twitter Blue users to hide their verification status out of fear of mockery, some also wonder why anyone would pay for Twitter Blue at all. At least, many are prepping to view the blue tick as a sign to block on sight.
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