After removing thousands of legacy checkmarks on April 20, Twitter is restoring blue checkmarks for large accounts, even if they didn’t pay for subscriptions.
Over the weekend, several top accounts (with over 1 million followers) got their checkmarks back. However, many of them, including writer Neil Gaiman, footballer Riyad Maharez, musician Lil Nas X, actress Janel Parrish Long and British TV presenter Richard Osman, said they did not pay for the blue badge.
In recent days, the drama of Elon Musk & co’s handling of legacy checkmarks has engulfed Twitter with several large and notable accounts missing the checkmark. This included accounts belonging to the Pope, Shakira and Lady Gaga. Notably, the Pope now has a gray check mark intended for government and multilateral organizations.
At the time, Musk said he was “personally paying” for accounts like Lebron James, Stephen King and William Shantner to sign up. But the company seems to be extending that gift to many accounts.
In March, the New York Times reported that Twitter was considering giving a free verification mark to the top 10,000 brands and companies. It’s unclear if Twitter is applying the same policy to personal accounts.
A programmer named Travis Brown analyzed accounts that have more than 1 million followers and said that almost 110 do not have Twitter verification at this time. Actor Ryan Reynolds and Brazilian social media influencer Felipe Neto are probably the most notable names without a check mark currently.
Brown’s GitHub page, which posts regular updates on subscribing to Blue, noted that only 4.8% of legacy verified accounts were subscribed to Twitter’s paid plan when the checks were removed.
He tweeted that there was only a 12,000 net increase in the number of subscriptions for Blue in the past week, mainly due to the company giving away subscriptions to accounts with large followings.
Verification has been a hotly contested topic under Twitter’s new management. Shortly after taking over the company, Musk launched paid verification, but the move backfired and the site was littered with fake celebrity and brand accounts.
Twitter is now also asking brands to pay for verification to run ad campaigns on the platform in a move to get money. While the company is emailing multiple accounts about the mandatory verification requirements for ads, it has not yet made any changes to the ad account page.
In addition, the social network shows a shortcut to register for the services of the verified organization in the sidebar of all accounts.
Weekend, multiple people noted that Twitter organizational verification requires a $1,000 non-refundable fee even if the account application is rejected.
Musk is confident that Twitter Blue will be a great source of revenue for the company. However, Sensor Tower’s analysis suggested that the payment generated just $11 million of mobile subscriptions in the first three months after launching in December.