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Twitter’s Blue Checkmarks: Here’s Who Gets To Keep Them And Who Says They Won’t Pay Up

Topline

Twitter says it will begin removing its blue checkmark verification badges from accounts Saturday, as the social media platform moves to a subscription-based verification system—though some big advertisers will get to keep their ticks.

Key Facts

Organizations can apply to become verified and any Twitter linked to a verified organization will be “automatically verified,” Musk tweeted—though organizations would need to pay a $1,000-per-month subscription fee.

Users can be nominated by an organization to become an “affiliate,” which Twitter says is “any individual or entity associated with them,” like leadership, support handles, employees or brands.

Each affiliated user for a verified organization will cost an additional $50 to the $1,000 fee, and any linked user will receive one of Twitter’s color-coded verification badges alongside an “affiliate badge,” which will connect other users to the organization.

Who will be exempt: Twitter will maintain verification status for the platform’s top 500 advertisers and the 10,000 most-followed organizations, according to company documents obtained by the New York Times.

A gray checkmark will be given to accounts representing a national government or government officials without requiring them to pay a subscription fee, like the White House—which said it would not pay to have its staff verified—and President Joe Biden, while government organizations at the state or local level can apply for eligibility.

Any user not connected to an organization will have to purchase an individual subscription to Twitter Blue—which includes other features, like longer tweets and 50% fewer ads on the platform—for $8 a month or $84 a year.

Chief Critic

Some athletes, celebrities and news organizations have indicated they would not pay to maintain their legacy verification. NBA star LeBron James and NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes have both said they would avoid paying Twitter Blue’s $8 fee. Other NFL players who have said they would not pay for Twitter Blue include New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas and Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Darius Slay. Author Stephen King said the platform “should pay me.” Actor William Shatner questioned Musk’s decision to create a subscription service, noting he has been on the platform for 15 years “all for bupkis.” Actor Karl Urban said he is “opposed to spending money on social media.” Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander said he would leave the platform once he loses verification. Former news anchor Dan Rather said he would be “happy to pay for a lot of things” except Twitter Blue. Model Chrissy Teigen called for Twitter to “just take the checkmark already who cares.” Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell also indicated he would not pay. The Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, the New York Times, Politico, Vox Media and the Washington Post have also each said they would not pay for verification, as the Los Angeles Times managing editor Sara Yasin said verification “no longer establishes authority or credibility.”

Forbes Valuation

Musk is worth $202.4 billion, according to our latest estimates. He is the second-richest person in the world, behind French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, whom we estimate to be worth $225.9 billion.

Key Background

Twitter’s “legacy” verified program was scheduled to begin “winding down” on April 1, as Musk set to move the platform toward subscription-based verification. The “legacy” verification was used to authenticate “notable” accounts belonging to celebrities, politicians, influencers, journalists, brands and organizations.

Further Reading

Elon Musk Provides Update On Who Will Keep Blue Tick—Ahead Of Twitter’s Verification Rollback (Forbes)

Billionaire LeBron James Says He Won’t Shell Out $8 A Month For Twitter Verification (Forbes)

Elon Musk Says Twitter Is Launching A New Color-Coded Verification Scheme Next Week–-Here’s What We Know So Far (Forbes)

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