As of Monday, many business accounts on Twitter (including @Variety) now display a gold check-mark (although it looks more yellowish on the Twitter app), instead of the previous blue verified badge. “This account is verified because it’s an official business on Twitter,” says a message when you click on a “gold” check-mark.
Musk’s changes to the Twitter verification program come as the company on Dec. 12 relaunched Twitter Blue, the subscription service that includes a blue check-mark — with new measures to prevent the deluge of “verified” impersonators that flooded the service when Musk first mandated the Twitter Blue revamp last month. Twitter Blue costs $8/month purchased on the web and $11/month through Apple’s iOS (the latter to account for what Musk has termed Apple’s 30% “tax” on in-app purchases processed through the App Store).
In another change, Twitter said that it will soon introduce a grey check-mark for government and “multilateral” accounts.
Meanwhile, individual accounts that Twitter had verified under the pre-Musk regime now display a message that says, “This is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable” — which appears on Musk’s own Twitter handle. On Monday, Musk claimed that he was responsible for the wording of the notice.
Since closing the $44 billion takeover, Musk has made Twitter Blue a top priority. That’s because the company has seen a major drop-off in advertising revenue, according to Musk, as many marketers have paused spending on the social network given uncertainty over Twitter’s future under the tech mogul. “Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn,” Musk wrote in an email to employees last month, adding that the company needs “roughly half of our revenue to be [from] subscription[s].”
Twitter Blue subscribers, besides getting a blue check-mark (if it meets Twitter’s new requirements), also have access to the limited-window “Edit Tweet” capability, 1080p HD video uploads and access to reader mode. According to Musk, the basic Twitter Blue service also will have “half the number of ads,” while the company plans to offer “a higher tier with no ads next year.”
Twitter first introduced verified accounts in 2009, as a visual indicator that celebrities, politicians, companies, entertainment brands, news organizations and other accounts “of public interest” are the real deal and not fake or parody accounts.