Twitter is about to pull the plug on what is likely its most controversial change yet, as the company moves to sunset its legacy verified program, starting April 1.
Who can get verified on Twitter and why has been a huge talking point ever since Elon Musk bought the platform last year. Musk has made vocal his opposition to the current policy, while also touting plans to turn Twitter into a profitable business again. To that end, Twitter has made some massive changes. Where previously users could only get verified by being notable or important based on Twitter’s guidelines, you can now buy a Twitter verification simply by subscribing to Twitter Blue. For a while now, we’ve had lots of “legacy” verified accounts and Twitter Blue subscribers all running around the Twittersphere with the same blue tick, as of April 1, that will come to an end.
“On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks,” the company announced this week. “To keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue.”
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: https://t.co/gzpCcwOpLp Organizations can sign up for https://t.co/RlN5BbuGA3…March 23, 2023
I’m feeling (Twitter) Blue
As you might expect, the reaction to such a controversial change has been hugely polarising. Some folks have lauded the change, seemingly gleeful at the downfall of the Twitter verified elite on the platform. However, plenty see the change as a win for other reasons.
“Thank you for doing this. I’m not even being sarcastic,” said Mike Drucker (opens in new tab). “Some users on Twitter were starting to confuse me for the type of person who’d pay $8 a month to feel special. It was embarrassing.”
““Paid for Twitter blue” has become an extremely reliable predictor of quality, just not in the way that Elon meant,” tech analyst Benedict Evans noted. (opens in new tab)
The influx of accounts with Twitter Blue checkmarks has even seen the rise of the infamous “this mf paid for twitter” mannequin meme. Twitter seems to know about this and is reportedly going to let users hide their blue checkmark if they’d like to enjoy Twitter Blue’s features without the accompanying public ridicule.
Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to hide their blue checkmarks to avoid the shame https://t.co/DjctZ6WwwD pic.twitter.com/of7zCjaekFMarch 24, 2023
Twitter is also rolling out its Twitter Blue subscription globally so that everyone on the platform will be able to buy it. Features include prioritized ranking in conversation, 50% fewer ads, longer tweets, an edit button, and more. However, some of these features, notably fewer ads and ranking priority, haven’t actually rolled out yet. Given Twitter’s recent track record of unsuccessfully rolling out new features, whether these ever actually arrive is anyone’s guess.
Twitter Blue’s initial launch was plagued by users buying blue ticks and impersonating high-profile brands. Most famously, one user impersonating Big Pharma brand Eli Lilly announced “We are excited to announce insulin is free now,” wiping billions of dollars from the company’s market cap and eventually leading to an insulin price cap of $35 a month which the company announced at the start of March.