Twitter’s blue tick verification feature is rolling out once again on Monday. It was paused last month after being swamped by impersonators causing it to cause absolute mayhem on the platform. It is still $8 per month – but there is now an increased fee of $11 for those using the Twitter app on Apple devices. Twitter’s owner Elon Musk has previously said in tweets that he resents the commission fee Apple charges on in-app purchases.
we’re relaunching @TwitterBlue on Monday – subscribe on web for $8/month or on iOS for $11/month to get access to subscriber-only features, including the blue checkmark 🧵 pic.twitter.com/DvvsLoSO50
— Twitter (@Twitter) December 10, 2022
Twitter Blue’s additional features include an edit button. This has long been a feature requested by many Twitter users, although there are others who argue that it increases the potential for the spread of disinformation if a tweet is altered after being widely shared.
Blue-tick subscribers will also see fewer ads, have their tweets amplified above others, and be able to post and view longer, better-quality videos, the platform says.
Previously a blue tick was used as a verification tool for high-profile accounts as a badge of authenticity. It was given out by Twitter for free – but only the firm itself decided who got one. Musk argues that this was unfair.
Blue tick owners under the previous regime currently still have them, but now some of these users also have a message which appears if the tick is pressed saying the account is a “legacy verified account” and “may or may not be notable”.
However, those check marks will now eventually be replaced with either gold (for businesses) or grey (for others such as authorities) badges, according to Twitter’s own account. Under the new system, subscribers who change their names or display photos will lose their blue tick until the account has been reviewed by Twitter.
Soon after Elon Musk bought Twitter, he announced that he will give a blue check for sale for $8, and people immediately used that ability to post fake news. See, while there was a difficult-to-find distinction between a blue check verifying the identity of a notable person and a blue check for having $8, it all pretty much looks the same on the timeline. So people could buy blue checks and post fake news, posing as someone or something notable. At first, it was primarily people posting fake sports news. But things started to get more and more serious eventually.
Twitter rolled out Twitter Blue last month, letting users who provided an Apple ID and a phone number pay $7.99 monthly to attain verification. Previously, that badge was only available to people when the company had verified their identity, often public figures and brands.
Almost immediately, users started taking advantage of the new tool. Accounts were created impersonating politicians including President Biden and celebrities, as well as other notable people. Several also surfaced purporting to be branded, announcing fake news.
Twitter temporarily disabled sign-ups for the new service Thursday night, according to an internal note viewed by The Washington Post, to “help address impersonation issues.”
Things have gotten much worse for Twitter. Predictably, people began posing as businesses, political organizations, political figures, and others. By Thursday evening it was out of control. At seemingly every turn was a fake account. Here’s just a small sampling and, fair warning, these examples are pretty controversial in nature.
All that was far more serious than a fake tweet about LeBron James. This is political and could be dangerous. Imagine the damage a bad actor could do on an election night. Less severe for the world — but quite serious for Musk and Twitter’s future — this is the exact sort of thing that would scare the hell out of advertisers, which is basically the only way the platform makes money. Twitter has now paused the ability to buy a checkmark through Twitter Blue.