Twitter has talked about removing legacy verified checkmarks for a while, and is now acting on that plan. The social network has begun to remove the original blue marks from user profiles; previously verified Engadget staff can confirm this. From now on, you’ll need to pay $8 per month for Blue to get that symbol back. Businesses can receive a gold checkmark without a subscription, while government and multilateral organization accounts get a gray checkmark.
The company introduced verification in 2009 to reduce the potential for phishing, and focused on well-established (though not necessarily famous) people in areas like politics, entertainment, and media. However, when Elon Musk bought Twitter in 2022, reclaimed there were too many “corrupt” verified accounts and that the legacy system needed to be abandoned. He characterized Blue as a way to democratize check marks.
That was not how it turned out. Twitter had to pause and relaunch Blue after trolls abused the feature to impersonate notable figures, including Musk. The firm instituted a review process and prohibited account registrations that had existed for less than 90 days. The gold and gray check marks restored some of those anti-phishing measures, but many celebrities, journalists, and the like no longer have those protections.
Twitter has also had other problems with user tags. Multiple major media organizations, including NPR and PBS, have left Twitter over objections to the social site’s “government-funded media” designation. These outlets say the hashtag falsely implies government influence over their content when they maintain strict editorial independence. The death of legacy checkmarks only underscores this conflict: Critics worry that Twitter is eroding trust in its quest to earn more revenue from subscriptions.