Despite Twitter announcing that ‘legacy’ blue checkmarks would be removed from April 1st, it seems that not many have disappeared as yet.
Some have, but reports have suggested that the actual process of removing blue ticks will take time, as it’s quite possible that the Twitter team will have to remove them manually, one-by-one. But in the meantime, Twitter’s come up with another way to democratize the blue tick.
Over the weekend, Twitter updated the wording of the pop-up that appears when you click on a checkmark in the app, which now makes it impossible to tell whether an account is paying for Twitter Blue, or is a legacy verified account.
Up till now, Twitter’s pop-up has clearly differentiated that an account is either subscribed to Twitter Blue or was verified under the previous regime. Now, this new wording melds the two – which is great for Twitter Blue subscribers, who are paying $8 per month for a level of exclusivity and perceived notoriety, while older verified accounts now, potentially, lose the very same thing.
Which is the flaw in the whole process of selling verification ticks – that the value of the product that you’re selling is diminished with every subsequent sale, because the more people pay for checkmarks in the app, the less differentiating it is to have one, but this wording change blurs that line straight away, even if it does take Twitter weeks or months to remove the old blue ticks.
Though eventually, you’ll be able to tell anyway, as they’ll be the only accounts appearing in recommendations. Maybe that’s now the bigger move, in separating paying users, which may make it less important that Twitter removes the old checkmarks in a timely manner – though without any actual verification process in place, you can’t really call it ‘verified’, either way, as really, it’s just whoever’s willing to pay for it.
Twitter chief Elon Musk has said that, soon, accounts will show the date of verification, as another means to help users understand their validity, but right now, there’s no ID check or qualification process for Twitter Blue. You just pay, and you get a blue tick.
So it doesn’t mean anything much, other than the users’ willingness to pay for internet points. In theory, as Musk has noted, it could work as a deterrent of sorts to stop scammers creating armies of bot accounts, as they’ll have to pay to get any real reach. But in reality, it’s probably not going to be an effective approach on this front either.
But for now, legacy verified users have retained their checkmarks, till Twitter gets around to removing them. The next big milestone, then, is April 15th, when only paying accounts will have their tweets shown in the ‘For You’ feeds of users that don’t already follow them.
Maybe, by then, all the old blue ticks will be removed.