Twitter Users Can Soon Get Blue Check For $7.99 Monthly Fee
Twitter has announced a subscription service for $7.99 a month that includes a blue check now given only to verified accounts as new owner Elon Musk works to overhaul the platform’s verification system just ahead of U.S. midterm elections.
In an update to Apple iOS devices available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., Twitter said users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can receive the blue check next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”
But Twitter employee Esther Crawford tweeted Saturday that the “new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time.” Verified accounts did not appear to be losing their checks so far.
It was not immediately clear when the subscription would go live. Crawford told The Associated Press in a Twitter message that it is coming “soon but it hasn’t launched yet.” Twitter did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Anyone being able to get the blue check could lead to confusion and the rise of disinformation ahead of Tuesday’s elections, but Musk tweeted Saturday in response to a question about the risk of impostors impersonating verified profiles — such as politicians and election officials — that “Twitter will suspend the account attempting impersonation and keep the money!”
“So if scammers want to do this a million times, that’s just a whole bunch of free money,” he said.
But many fear widespread layoffs that began Friday could gut the guardrails of content moderation and verification on the social platform that public agencies, election boards, police departments and news outlets use to keep people reliably informed.
The change will end Twitter’s current verification system, which was launched in 2009 to prevent impersonations of high-profile accounts such as celebrities and politicians. Twitter now has about 423,000 verified accounts, many of them rank-and-file journalists from around the globe that the company verified regardless of how many followers they had.
Experts have raised grave concerns about upending the platform’s verification system that, while not perfect, has helped Twitter’s 238 million daily users determine whether accounts they get information from are authentic. Current verified accounts include celebrities, athletes and influencers, along with government agencies and politicians worldwide, journalists and news outlets, activists, businesses and brands, and Musk himself.