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The platform's traditional system of blue 'verified' checkmarks, awarded to handpicked users, was discontinued in favor of a new system open to all users willing to pay a monthly fee, resulting in a cacophony of fury.
The new approach went into effect on 4/20/23 (another homage to the "420" meme by perennial jokester Elon Musk), and users who had previously been verified — largely celebrities, journalists, and public figures — lost their checkmarks.
Those figures could simply reclaim their checkmarks by opting for the $8 subscription option, which is now available to all users, but many instead opted to erupt in rage at the loss of their once-exclusive status symbol.
“So by revoking my blue check mark because I wouldn’t pay some arbitrary fee, someone can just be me and say a bunch of bullshit,” seethed Alyssa Milano. “Does that mean Twitter and Elon Musk are liable for defamation or identity theft or fraud?”
So by revoking my blue check mark because I wouldn’t pay some arbitrary fee, someone can just be me and say a bunch of bullshit. Does that mean Twitter and @elonmusk are liable for defamation or identity theft or fraud?
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 20, 2023
“Elon, deciding that I’m not me, I’m a fake, & obliging ME, who has contributed mightily to your platform, (at least until you “tweaked the algorithm & tanked my metrics”) to pay monthly because you don’t have enough money & you’re humiliated b/c everyone thinks you’re a pathetic douche, is the funniest thing you’ve ever done,” said Bette Midler.
douche, is the funniest thing you’ve ever done. Let that sink in. Sorry to hear about your rocket.
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) April 21, 2023
“Today proves yet again that you can’t buy class but you can buy a blue check mark,” said leftist journalist Dan Rather.
Today proves yet again that you can’t buy class but you can buy a blue check mark.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) April 21, 2023
“WE are the content creators. WE are why advertisers are here. And WE create all this content FOR FREE. YOU should be paying US,” raged the official account of Mueller, She Wrote, a Trump-era podcast promoting the Russiagate hoax.
WE are the content creators. WE are why advertisers are here. And WE create all this content FOR FREE. YOU should be paying US. Paying for a blue check mark would be like charging musicians to have their music on Spotify. Twitter isn’t a SERVICE. It’s a PLATFORM. https://t.co/v7mcjBhqIe
— Mueller, She Wrote (@MuellerSheWrote) April 21, 2023
The hosts of Morning Joe condemned the “chaos” of the change, including the potential effects on “democracy.”
Morning Joe Show Goes Berserk Over #ElonMusk's Twitter Blue Check #system: "It's complete mayhem…This is going to create a lot of distress."
"Well, you have the option to pay $8 for Twitter Blue." pic.twitter.com/gKhH0KyHne
— Whatfinger News (@Whatfinger1) April 21, 2023
“Today I lost a blue check mark, and saved both 8 bucks a month and my dignity,” said liberal author John Pavlovitz. “I win.”
Today I lost a blue check mark, and saved both 8 bucks a month and my dignity. I win.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) April 21, 2023
Twitter's blue check mark, which was originally designed to safeguard notable personalities from impersonation, quickly became a trophy doled out to favored users by staff at the woke company, with many non-prominent accounts with fewer than ten thousand followers becoming verified.
Simultaneously, Twitter declined to verify notable conservative and anti-establishment accounts such as James O'Keefe and Julian Assange.
Musk's paid verification mechanism ends the prior, biased regime, but it also introduces new issues, such as pranksters and impersonators paying for a blue check mark to appear more authentic.
The new system may potentially have advantages. It will increase the expenses of running effective spam bots because unverified accounts will have to compete against a much greater number of verified accounts, which may continue to be favored by Twitter's algorithm.
Musk attempted to appease at least some of the erstwhile blue checkmark army over the weekend, offering authentication to a range of celebrity accounts with little rhyme or reason.