Mixed reactions as Twitter returns blue tick for users with over 1m followers

Tomiwo Ojo
Twitter to remove all blue checkmark badges on April fool's day

Twitter has returned the verification badge to users with over one million followers. The microblogging platform removed the blue verification check mark on Friday, causing many users to react that the Elon musk owned company was not bluffing.

However, several of these users saw their blue verification badge returned on Sunday morning. The move saw politicians, celebrities, media companies, and journalists regain their badges, including CNN journalist Ogbeni Dipo, Larry Madowo, Aisha Yesufu, media houses, former US President Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Beyonce.

On Sunday, Larry Madowo expressed his confusion about the sudden return of his blue verification badge. “I woke up to a blue checkmark again. I haven’t paid for Twitter Blue. Reports say Elon Musk has given it back to “legacy verified” accounts with over 1 million followers. What’s going on?” he asked.

Twitter Verification and its drama

Twitter’s verification system, denoted by a blue check next to the name of the user’s handle, was launched in 2009, three years after the launch of the site. Originally, a verified account meant the owner of the account would send information to the public. For public figures, their tweets in many instances have been a source of news for many media outlets.

Many tweeps coveted the verification badge under the company’s last administration. It was seen as a means to authenticate accounts since many users could impersonate other high-profile users or entities.

Twitter wants organisations to pay $1k to get verified "easily"

After Elon Musk’s takeover, the microblogging platform announced that users would now have to pay a monthly fee under Twitter Blue to have the badge. Blue subscribers will enjoy priorities in replies, mentions, and searches, which Musk said was essential to defeat spam/scams. They will also be able to post long videos and audio and get half as many adverts.

The company had earlier announced that any accounts verified under the old system will no longer have the blue checkmark badge on their profiles unless they subscribe to Blue in April.

Elon Musk paying for select celebrities Twitter Blue

Last week, Elon Musk admitted that he was personally paying for the subscription of Lebron James, William Shatner, and Stephen King; three celebrities who have been vocal in their displeasure for verification payment

“I’m paying for a few personally,” the CEO tweeted in response to a claim from T(w)itter Daily News that “Some celebrities have been offered a complimentary Blue subscription ‘on behalf of Elon Musk.’”

“Just Shatner, LeBron and King,” the multibillionaire tweeted on Friday.

However,

The return of the verification badges for some of the high profile users have not been met with open hands. The message when you hover the blue badge says that “this user is verified because they subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number”

Despite the accounts showing that they had paid the subscription for Twitter blue and verified their numbers, several accounts that had their badges restored maintained that it was done without their knowledge.

“Twitter started giving anyone with a large following, roughly 1 million followers or more, a free checkmark,” Forbes wrote on the changes. The report also highlights the problem of verifying accounts of celebrities who are now dead. For instance. Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in 2020, has been given a blue checkmark.

Aisha Yesufu wrote, This is not acceptable. I did not subscribe to Twitter blue and find this extremely deceptive. It better not be that someone can pay on my behalf. That will be a breach of my privacy.

Twitter is yet to comment on the latest decision and it would be fun to see what the microblogging platform and its eccentric CEO does next regarding the verification on its platform. Twitter still urges all users to subscribe to Twitter Blue and verify their phone numbers to enjoy premium benefits.


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