April Foul: Twitter Removes Your Free Verification from Today

If legacy users don't fork out for Twitter Blue, their experience on the app could change dramatically.

If you’re a legacy blue tick holder and you haven’t signed up for the platform’s premium service “Twitter Blue”, your verification will soon be removed, as Twitter begins “winding down the program”.

Despite their practical ability to discern legitimate accounts from impersonators, Elon Musk announced legacy blue checkmarks would be revoked back in December, claiming that their distribution was “corrupt and nonsensical”.

But this isn’t the only change coming to Twitter. From April 15, Twitter users will also need to be verified to vote in polls, and to appear on the platforms For You page. Here’s what we know so far.

Why You Could Lose Your Twitter Checkmark

It looks like the sun is finally setting on Twitter’s legacy verification system, which was first introduced just after the site was launched in 2009, as a way to identify legitimate accounts.

Since its rollout, the tick has come to represent a status symbol just as much as a tool for weeding out imposters. However, Twitter users still maintain that they’re a vital way for notable public figures to authenticate their identity on the app and that removing them could unleash some pretty serious security concerns.

But this isn’t the way that Elon Musk sees it. The second richest person in the world claims that switching the legacy system to the platform’s $8-a-month paid service is the “only realistic way to address advanced AI bot swarms taking over”.

While Musk claims that removing blue ticks for legacy users is the best way to keep users safe, forcing verified accounts to fork out for a monthly subscription is also a clear attempt to squeeze more cash from its user base.

Twitter’s financial turmoil is no secret. The social networking site has amassed an astronomical amount of debt since the SpaceX CEO acquired the site back in October. Musk has also been in hot water recently for failing to pay Twitter’s bills.

With arrears currently exceeding $14 million, and the company facing legal action from all sides, the promotion of Twitter Blue is hardly surprising. But aside from the dismantlement of legacy ticks, what other changes are coming to the platform?

What Other Changes Are Coming to Twitter?

From April 15, Twitter users will need to be verified to vote in polls, to prevent disruption from bots that are supposedly plaguing the platform.

Only companies, government entities, or Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to show up on the company’s ForYou page too — the app’s new algorithmically generated feed that takes heavy inspiration from the video app TikTok.

But while Musk claims these measures are the best way to protect its users from bots, a former member of Twitter’s verification doesn’t agree. “Our number one goal for my team was to protect users from real-world harm”, he told the BBC “and this screams the complete opposite to me.”

“Verified users will use their power and their presence on the platform to influence anything from misinformation to actual harm for users all around the world. It’s a silent threat that no one is seeing.”

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at Tech.co with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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