On Thursday, Twitter began the process of removing Twitter verification, the blue checkmarks that had been granted to verified users, including famous personalities like Beyonce and Pope Francis. However, some individuals such as basketball star LeBron James and author Stephen King retained their verified statuses. The company’s new owner, Elon Musk, tweeted that he would pay for the blue checkmarks of some verified users personally, naming William Shatner, LeBron James, and Stephen King.
Twitter had previously granted the coveted blue checkmarks to notable individuals, journalists, executives, politicians, and organizations after verifying their identities. Under Musk’s ownership, the social media platform is now charging $8 per month for the badge in an effort to generate revenue beyond advertising. Twitter verification has also added checkmarks in other colors such as gold for businesses and gray for government and multilateral organizations and officials.
Twitter Displaying Labels
Twitter has also started displaying labels like “state-affiliated” and “automated by” against accounts to show when an account is linked to a government or is a bot. However, some public broadcasters have stopped posting content on Twitter after the company labeled them “state-affiliated media” and “government-funded media.” The US non-profit National Public Radio (NPR) stopped posting on its 52 official Twitter feeds, while the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) also paused its activities on Twitter and debated with Musk over Twitter’s definition of government-funded.
What is exactly going on?
While some verified users were stripped of their blue checkmarks, many are still waiting to know if they will lose their Twitter verification, as Twitter has yet to provide a comprehensive list of those affected. However, the social media giant has indicated that it will revoke the blue checkmark if the user violates its policies or misuses it. The blue checkmark served as a symbol of authenticity and has been a coveted status among users of the platform, which has faced criticism for its handling of user verification and content moderation.
Overall, Twitter’s decision to remove the blue checkmarks of some verified users, including high-profile individuals, has sparked controversy on the platform. The move comes as part of Twitter’s effort to monetize its services and to improve its policies and practices around user Twitter verification and content moderation. As Musk continues to steer Twitter in a new direction, users are left wondering what other changes may be in store for the platform.