- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2023

Twitter intends to start taking away people’s blue check marks on April 1 unless they pay up.

The coveted blue check marks that were previously meant to convey the authenticity or authority of users on the social media platform will soon identify people who paid for Twitter‘s subscription service.

“On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified check marks,” the company said on Twitter via its @TwitterVerified account. “To keep your blue check mark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue here.”

Since acquiring the platform last year, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has replaced the freely dispensed check marks with a system making people pay Twitter for the badges.

The subscription service costs users in the U.S. monthly fees of $8 for subscriptions on the web and $11 for using the service on mobile operating systems, per the company’s website.

Twitter is asking organizations that want to be verified with gold and gray check marks, square avatars and other features to pay a $1,000 monthly fee plus $50 per month for each affiliate of the group, according to the company’s website.

“Any individual person’s Twitter account affiliated with a verified organization is automatically verified,” Mr. Musk said Friday on Twitter.

Along with different color badges, users who pay Twitter will also have access to different editing tools and the ability to upload longer videos.

Some Twitter users view Mr. Musk’s plans skeptically. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, does not appear to be a fan.

“Last time they tried this someone pretended to be Eli Lilly and tanked their stock price by pretending insulin was free,” she tweeted via her @AOC account that displays a gray check mark conveying she is a government official.

Twitter‘s website said the company has taken steps to minimize the risk of imposters, including requiring subscribers to provide a verified phone number.

“New Twitter accounts will not be able to sign up for Twitter Blue for 90 days,” the website said. “Twitter accounts that haven’t been active within the last 30 days or that have changed their profile photo, display name or username (aka @handle) within the previous 3 days may also be unable to sign up.”

Twitter‘s plan to make people pay has garnered the attention of other tech platforms. For example, Meta said in February it was creating a paid subscription service for Facebook and Instagram, offering people a blue badge and additional security.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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