Pay Up or Shut Up

Since Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition, Twitter Blue has made verification less about securing one’s identity and more of a “pay-to-play” style system where anyone can get a “blue check” and other features for a monthly fee.

Now, Twitter has announced it intends to remove all “legacy” blue checkmarks as of April 1 from:

  1. Individual users who do not subscribe to Twitter Blue; and
  2. Brands/Organizations who do not apply to become a Verified Organization, which comes with a hefty monthly base fee of $1,000.

As of today, however, many original blue check marks remain (including mine.)

Public reactions suggest influential users and brands may avoid paying for verification. The New York Times announced it will not pay for Twitter Blue on any institutional accounts nor reimburse reporters for verification of their personal accounts, while Politico, BuzzFeed and Vox have adopted a similar policy for their reporters. The White House will also not pay for Twitter verification or reimburse staff who enroll in Twitter Blue. 

A week after the announcement, Business Insider reported Twitter will waive the $1,000 blue check fee for the 10,000 most-followed organizations and its top 500 advertising clients already verified before the policy change. 

Many feel paying for verification will, at best, not impact overall engagement, and at worst, expose their account to negative public reaction from target audiences who disapprove of Elon Musk’s Twitter leadership. 

Brands should remain mindful as the removal of verified check marks may also lead to increased misinformation, identity confusion, viral communications crises and/or public harm.

Our recommendations remain largely the same as when Musk acquired the platform: Evaluate your posting strategy, monitor the conversation and be prepared for change.