After removing thousands of legacy verification checkmarks on April 20, Twitter is restoring the Blue tick marks for large accounts — even if they didn’t pay for subscriptions.
Over the weekend, multiple top accounts (with more than 1 million followers) got their verification marks back. However, many of them, including writer Neil Gaiman, footballer Riyad Mahrez, musician Lil Nas X, actress Janel Parrish Long and British TV presenter Richard Osman said that they didn’t pay for the blue badge.
Over the last few days, the drama of Elon Musk & co’s handling of legacy checkmarks has engulfed Twitter with multiple large and notable accounts losing the verification mark. This included accounts belonging to the Pope, Shakira and Lady Gaga. Notably, the Pope now has a gray checkmark meant for government and multilateral organizations.
At that time, Musk said that he was “personally paying” for the subscription for a few accounts such as Lebron James, Stephen King and William Shantner. But the company seems to be extending that gift to many accounts.
As noted by The Verge, Twitter also restored verification for celebrity accounts who have passed away. This includes Michael Jackson, Chadwick Boseman, Barbara Walters, Paul Walker and Jamal Khashoggi. If you click on the label beside their profile it implies that these folks paid for the subscription and verified their phone numbers.
In March, The New York Times reported that Twitter was considering handing out a free verification mark to the top 10,000 brands and companies. It’s not clear if Twitter is applying the same policy to personal accounts.
A programmer named Travis Brown analyzed accounts that have more than 1 million followers and said that almost 110 don’t have Twitter verification at the moment. Actor Ryan Reynolds and Brazilian social media influencer Felipe Neto are probably the most notable names without a verification mark currently.
Brown’s GitHub page, which posts regular updates about Blue subscription, noted that only 4.8% of legacy verified accounts were subscribed to Twitter’s paid plan when the checks were removed.
He tweeted that there was only a net increase of 12,000 in the Blue subscription numbers in the last week — mostly due to the company gifting subscriptions to accounts with large followings.
Verification has been a hotly contested topic under the new Twitter management. Shortly after taking over the company, Musk launched paid verification, but the move backfired and the site was marred with fake celebrity and brand accounts.
Twitter is also now asking brands to pay for verification to run ad campaigns on the platform in a money-grabbing move. While the company is sending emails to various accounts about mandatory verification requirements for advertisements, it is yet to make any changes to the ads account page.
Additionally, the social network is showing a shortcut to sign up for verified organization services in the sidebar of all accounts.
Over the weekend, multiple people pointed out that Twitter’s organizational verification takes a $1,000 non-refundable fee even if the account’s application is rejected.
Musk is banking on Twitter Blue being a big moneymaker for the company. However, analysis from Sensor Tower suggested it brought in just $11 million from mobile subscriptions in the first three months after the launch in December.