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With legacy verification ending, will Twitter’s blue checks become the new scarlet letter?

Soon it will be even easier to figure out who is paying for Twitter.

With legacy verification ending, will Twitter’s blue checks become the new scarlet letter?
[Source photo: ilgmyzin/Unsplash]

D-Day is coming for people on Twitter who have legacy checkmarks—the blue badge that was once bestowed upon select users who were deemed notable. That’s all changed now that Elon Musk has taken over the company. The official @verified account on Twitter has announced that the company will begin winding down its legacy verified program on April 1.

That the company is doing this on April Fools’ Day could be a coincidence, or it may be happening on that day because it gives Musk giggles inside his head. What is certain (unless this whole thing is an April Fools’ joke) is that anyone who was previously verified on Twitter for being a notable individual—journalists, entertainers, artists, politicians, and the like—will have their blue checkmark removed from their profile beginning next Saturday.

There is, of course, a way for these legacy verified individuals to keep their blue badge: They can sign up for Twitter’s Blue subscription service for $8 a month. How many legacy verified users will actually do this remains to be seen.

While some users are lamenting the imminent death of a verification system that actually meant something, many others are pointing out that the removal of legacy badges will actually be detrimental to Twitter Blue subscribers who pay $8 a month for theirs.

In other words, the blue badge may now become something of a scarlet letter on Twitter, with the ending of the legacy Twitter checkmark marking a solemn day in internet history. Twitter was the first major platform to roll out a verification service for its users in order to prevent impersonation.

“Verified Accounts will feature a special seal,” the original blog post announcing the verified badge on June 6, 2009 still reads. “The experiment will begin with public officials, public agencies, famous artists, athletes, and other well known individuals at risk of impersonation. We hope to verify more accounts in the future but due to the resources required, verification will begin only with a small set.”

Almost 14 years later, that “small set” of users who could get a blue badge is anything but.

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Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com More

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