Although Twitter announced that it would revoke blue check marks from accounts that haven’t subscribed to Twitter Blue – its new paid service – from April 1st, users are reporting that they still have their blue checks despite not having paid for the service.
As per the company, the social media platform used to grant blue checks to accounts that it had verified and considered as “active, notable, and authentic.”
Presently, any user who meets the eligibility criteria set by the company can acquire the blue badge by paying approximately $8 per month.
As of Monday, it’s not certain whether any Twitter users who had legacy blue check marks have had them removed involuntarily. However, when the icon is clicked, accounts now show a new message stating, “This account is verified because it has subscribed to Twitter Blue or is a legacy verified account.”
]The message now creates difficulty in distinguishing whether an account obtained the verification under Twitter’s old criteria or paid for the blue check through Twitter Blue.
Elon Musk, the owner, has maintained that Twitter Blue aims to provide equal treatment to all accounts and not favor any particular ones. However, experts caution that the loosened verification standards could facilitate the dissemination of misinformation.
According to Sol Messing, a research associate professor at New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics, individuals with malicious intentions on Twitter may use the new paid service to amplify their presence and overshadow more credible information.
Messing explained to NPR, “This is why Twitter originally instituted the verification program, so that it would be challenging for individuals to engage in such behavior, as all the accounts with blue check marks were indeed authentic and legitimate.”
Last year, when Twitter Blue was first introduced, a user with a blue check mark impersonated the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and posted a tweet claiming that the company was giving out free insulin. Although the company refuted the statement and expressed regret, the fake tweet had already received several hundred retweets and thousands of likes, which led to a temporary decline in Lilly’s stock value.
It seems that at least one account, The New York Times, has lost its verification. In reply to a meme posted by a user that mocked the newspaper for not paying for the blue check, Elon Musk responded, “Alright, we’ll remove it then.”
For a monthly fee of $8 or an upfront payment of $84 for the entire year, users can subscribe to Twitter Blue, which offers features such as tweet editing and text message two-factor authentication.
Twitter has stated that accounts subscribing to the blue check will have to fulfill specific eligibility criteria, including maintaining a name and a profile image that were not recently updated, and being active for over 30 days.