Twitter announced that it would start winding down its legacy verified programs on April 1. The process, like many things at the company under Elon Musk, was chaotically executed and subject to the will of its new CEO.
First, we did not see any legacy verified checkmarks disappearing from any accounts, except for one corporate account. Twitter has made no distinction between legacy verified accounts and accounts that pay Twitter Blue. For example, click on the verified blue badge Editor in Chief Nilay Patel to see a message saying “This account has been verified because it is subscribed to Twitter Blue, or is a legacy verified user.”
Musk stated in a now-deleted Twitter that legacy verified accounts would be granted “a few weeks grace” to have their checkmarks removed. This was captured by Matt Binder. A report by The Washington Post indicates that it may be difficult to remove so-called “blue ticks” quickly and efficiently.
At least one case of an account that was previously verified has been reported. This is the New York Times . According to the organization, it does not plan to pay Twitter $1000 per month in order to be officially verified. After being asked this question by a Twitter user, Musk replied ” We’ll Take It Off Then” and the checkmark disappeared. Other NYT accounts, such as Books and Opinion still have their legacy checkmarks despite the fact that they do not plan to pay Twitter’s new verification fees.
Musk followed-up his tweet by calling the NYT’s position “hypocritical” as it charges subscribers to access much of its content.
Twitter won’t remove checkmarks from accounts that have said they won’t sign up for Twitter Blue. LeBron James’ legacy blue badge, however, is still available despite LeBron James publicly stating that he will not pay for it.
Elon Musk described the changes to Twitter’s verification system as an effort to treat all users. However, last week’s report stated that the company will give free checkmarks to certain companies. These will include the top 500 advertisers and the 10,000 most followed organizations.
Twitter has attempted to eliminate the distinction between legacy verified users (Twitter Blue subscribers) but the difference is still evident in the site’s code. Twitter user Isabelle has uploaded a script from GitHub to show the difference.
Twitter’s decision to push paid verification is a result of the company being valued at less than half of what Musk paid less than one year ago. Recent memo estimated the value of the social network at $20B, which is less than the $44B Musk paid for it. This is not surprising considering how much debt Musk took on in order to finance the purchase.