Elon Musk and Twitter have started removing blue ticks from legacy verified Twitter accounts in an effort to encourage more users to subscribe to the platform’s paid subscription.
This move comes after Twitter announced it would wind down its legacy verified program, giving blue ticks to notable accounts like celebrities, journalists, and government officials to indicate their accounts were authentic. Musk has been a vocal critic of the system, calling it “corrupt” and a “lords and peasants system,” and has been pushing for paid verification since taking over the platform last year.
Changes to the verification badge began earlier this month when Twitter removed the blue tick from The New York Times’ official account after a Twitter user said the news organization did not plan to pay for verification. Musk responded by saying, “Oh ok, we’ll take it off then,” and criticized The New York Times in a separate tweet. On April 11, Musk confirmed that all legacy verified accounts would lose their status starting on April 20.
Currently, most legacy verified accounts had lost their blue ticks, including high-profile users such as Beyoncé, Cristiano Ronaldo, and even the Pope. However, some government officials and artists like Taylor Swift have retained their verification badges.
While most notable users are presumed to be paying for Twitter Blue, some, like US novelist Stephen King, have retained their blue ticks despite not paying for the subscription.
According to a report by The Verge, some celebrities, such as US basketball player LeBron James, have received complimentary subscriptions to Twitter Blue on behalf of Musk.
Musk has been vocal about his support for the subscription-based model, which offers additional features such as an undo button, bookmark folders, and reader mode.
Musk’s move to remove blue ticks from legacy verified accounts and introduce paid verification has been met with mixed reactions. While some users have criticized the move, others have praised Musk for shaking up the Twitter ecosystem.
However, it remains to be seen how the paid verification system will impact Twitter’s user base and revenue streams in the long run.