Twitter’s verified check mess

Today in news we wish was an April Fool’s joke, Twitter is all in on pay-to-play. 

Driving the news: Twitter is finally rolling out its plan to generate more revenue by forcing users to pay up for its “Twitter Blue” subscription product (or risk losing their verified checks). But media organizations, companies, celebrities, and government agencies aren’t having it.

Catch-up: Five days ago, Twitter started to remove legacy verified checks for non-paying accounts—with some users yet to see the change. Organizations will now have to dish out US$1,000 a month to obtain gold checks, while individuals can get blue checks for ~$8.

  • Twitter will reportedly give free passes to the 500 advertisers that spend the most on its platform as well as the top 10,000 organizations by follower count. 
  • And to make things more complicated, (free) grey checks will stick around to certify some accounts from governments, political parties, media houses, and brands.

Why it matters: Twitter’s verified checks were once considered a status symbol of sorts. By making them available to anyone willing to pay US$8 a month and simply able to verify that they are, in fact, a real person, Twitter has effectively eroded their value overnight. 

  • The New York TimesPolitico, and the White House are among the organizations that confirmed they will not be paying for their staff's Twitter verified profiles.
  • Twitter did think of that. Companies that pay up can access Twitter Verification for Organizations, which offers the ability to denote staff accounts as “affiliated.”

Zoom out: Twitter’s new verification system is one of many changes introduced by Musk (along with plastering the site with a doge cryptocurrency icon, for some reason) in a bid to make the company profitability, a goal that remains distant.—SB