Changes to Twitter’s Legacy Verifications Lead to Confusion

Twitter did not implement the check mark purge set for April 1, when it said it would remove the blue verification symbols from the accounts of celebrities, influencers and politicians who were not paying $8 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription. The weekend came and went with the status of so-called “legacy verifications” largely unchanged. Twitter’s owner and CEO, Elon Musk, says he still plans to monetize verifications, and that U.S. businesses and governments will be charged $1,000 monthly to retain their checkmarks — gold for businesses and gray for governments.

Businesses will also be charged $50 per month per verified subaccount (for employees, brands or divisions). But Twitter appears willing “to make some exceptions regarding which companies get to retain their check marks without paying,” wrote The New York Times Friday, in anticipation of what it termed “Twitter’s blue check apocalypse.”

Citing an internal document, NYT reported Twitter will “let the 10,000 most-followed organizations and [its] top 500 advertisers that have already been verified keep their status.” Presciently, NYT added: “one caveat to these likely changes is that Mr. Musk is not known for always following through on his public intentions. So parts of the check-mark policy could change as Twitter rolls it out.”

By Monday The New York Times was reporting that “while Twitter took away the check mark from some accounts, including that of The New York Times, most verified users retained the symbols.”

Axios reported Tuesday that organizations from the White House to NYT, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed are refusing to pay the $1,000 monthly for Twitter’s enterprise service, Verification for Organization. As of Tuesday evening, NYT was the only one among the aforementioned whose verification was removed.

TechCrunch reports that over the weekend Twitter controversially “revised the label attached to the check mark to make it virtually impossible to differentiate between those who earned it and all who paid for it.” Now, users who click on the blue checkmark see a text box that says: “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue or is a legacy verified account.”

Initially, when Twitter introduced the Blue subscription verifications, the label on legacy accounts read: “This is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable,” while the nouveau Blues read: “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue.”

While the distinction may seem snooty, the practical reason for wanting differentiation was a barrage of “verified” imposters, a problem Musk says he’s tamping down. Twitter plans to add the date of verification to Blue profiles. In order to make Twitter verified subscriptions more appealing, “Musk has promised that after April 15, the ‘For You’ algorithmic timeline will only show verified accounts along with the accounts a person follows,” TechCrunch writes.

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