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Twitter removed blue legacy checkmarks from non-paying user accounts on Thursday, weeks after the Elon Musk-owned company originally announced the changes would begin.
The company confirmed Wednesday that it would start removing blue checkmarks from users who haven’t paid for the company’s subscription service, Twitter Blue. By noon on Thursday, checkmarks had started to disappear from non-paying accounts.
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Before Musk made Twitter private, blue checkmarks were limited to notable figures in government, media, or who were otherwise in the public eye and were at increased risk of impersonation. Musk said Twitter Blue will offer the option of paid verification soon after it completes its $44 billion takeover of the social media site.
The change means that only paying subscribers who have “verified” their phone number will be eligible for Twitter verification and a blue tick. Government accounts and some business accounts will still maintain verification via a separate set of icons, silver and gold respectively.
A subsequent outcry over the initial price — $20 — and a poorly executed rollout, including widespread impersonation of public and corporate figures, forced Musk to delay removing legacy verification. Twitter then rolled out color-coded verification symbols for verified brands or government-associated organizations.
At the time of publication, there were significant gaps in institutional verification, leaving them open to the possibility of impersonation. The Twitter accounts of many US Attorney’s offices remained unverified, as did various departments of the US Department of Justice and field offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Musk has wielded his power on the platform to manipulate media vetting and labeling, including NPR and The New York Times. NPR elected stop using the platform in an official capacity after being falsely labeled as state-affiliated; The New York Times lost its verified status on its main account after the outlet said it would not pay for verification on Twitter.