After removing thousands of obsolete verification checkmarks on April 20, Twitter is reinstating the blue checkmarks for major accounts — even those that haven’t paid for subscriptions.
Over the weekend, several top accounts (with more than 1 million followers) got their seals 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.
Over the past few days, the drama of Elon Musk & co’s handling of obsolete ticks has flooded Twitter with multiple large and notable accounts losing the verification mark. This included accounts of the Pope, Shakira and Lady Gaga. The pope in particular now has a gray check mark intended for the government and multilateral organizations.
At the time, Musk said he “personally” paid for the subscription for a few accounts such as Lebron James, Stephen King and William Shantner. But the company seems to be extending that gift to many accounts.
In March, the New York Times reported that Twitter was considering handing out a free verification token to the top 10,000 brands and companies. It’s not clear whether Twitter applies the same policy to personal accounts.
A programmer named Travis Brown analyzed accounts with more than 1 million followers and said nearly 110 currently lack Twitter verification. Actor Ryan Reynolds and Brazilian social media influencer Felipe Neto are probably the most notable unlabelled names right now.
Brown’s GitHub page, which regularly posts updates on the Blue plan, noted that only 4.8% of aged verified accounts subscribed to Twitter’s paid plan when the checks were removed.
He tweeted that there was only a net increase of 12,000 in Blue subscription numbers last week, mainly due to the company donating subscriptions to accounts with large followings.
Authentication has been a hotly contested topic under new Twitter management. Shortly after acquiring the company, Musk launched paid verification, but the move fell through and the site was marred with fake celebrity and brand accounts.
Twitter is now also asking brands to pay for verification to run ad campaigns on the platform to make money. While the company is sending emails to various accounts about mandatory ad verification requirements, it has yet to make any changes the ad account page.
In addition, the social network shows a shortcut to sign up for verified organization services in the sidebar of all accounts.
During the weekend, multiple people pointed out that Twitter Organization verification is subject to a $1,000 non-refundable fee even if the request of the account is rejected.
Musk counts on Twitter Blue being a big moneymaker for the company. However, Sensor Tower’s analysis suggested that its paid subscriptions brought in just $11 million in the first three months after its December launch.