By Katabella Roberts
Twitter is set to begin “winding down” its legacy blue checkmarks for all users on the platform starting April 1.
The Elon Musk-owned company announced the move on Twitter on March 23, adding that users who want to keep their blue checkmarks, or verification badges, should sign up for the Blue subscription paid plan.
The decision will likely come as no surprise to most as Musk had posted back in December that the company would remove all legacy blue checks “in a few months” because “the way in which they were given out was corrupt and nonsensical.”
Since then, Twitter users who have accounts with the legacy blue tick have seen a pop-up message stating, “This account is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable,” when they click on the checkmark.
Prior to Musk acquiring Twitter in October for $44 billion, Twitter had handed out blue checkmarks or verification badges for free to verified user accounts such as those belonging to celebrities, politicians, government officials, journalists, or other accounts of public interest.
However, the verification system was difficult and often confusing and involved users uploading identification to Twitter and proving that their account either represented or was associated with “a prominently recognized individual or brand.”
The account also had to be active with a “record of adherence to the Twitter Rules,” and should not have had any 12-hour or 7-day bans for violating the Twitter Rules within the past 12 months before applying. That excluded successful appeals against the lockouts.
Once users had completed the above, the request for verification was then considered by Twitter and if denied, users would receive a short message from Twitter stating that their application had not been successful but without providing details as to why.
Blue Subscription Service Now Global
Many users had complained that the process was often difficult and convoluted.
Shortly after acquiring Twitter, Musk announced that the “whole verification process is being revamped right now.”
In December, the platform rolled out the Twitter Blue subscription model that charges users $8 per month in the United States for verification, although it is slightly more expensive at $11 per month for users who sign up on the iOS app, to account for the 30 percent cut that Apple takes.
Under that plan, users also get early access to select features, like editing tweets and undoing them after publishing. Unlike the previous Twitter rules, user accounts do not have to be notable, although accounts made less than 30 days ago will not be eligible for the paid plan.
Additional gold and grey checkmarks are also available to verify businesses and government or multilateral organizations or government or multilateral officials, respectively.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Twitter announced that the Blue subscription service was now available worldwide. It is unclear how many users are currently using the paid subscription service.
The latest announcements come after the results of a new independent assessment were published showing that the reach of hate speech on Twitter has declined more than expected under Musk.
According to software firm Sprinklr, which partnered with the platform to conduct the assessment via an “AI-based Toxicity Model,” hate tweets received three times fewer views, or impressions compared to non-toxic tweets between January and February 2023.
“Sprinklr’s analysis found that hate speech receives 67 percent fewer impressions per Tweet than non-toxic slur Tweets,” the firm wrote, adding that “the reach of toxic content is actually lower than Twitter’s own first-party estimates.”