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Twitter removes legacy blue ticks for thousands; all you need to know

From Virat Kohli to Shah Rukh Khan, microblogging site Twitter on Thursday removed blue ticks for those who did not pay for the Twitter Blue package

Twitter, Twitter Blue

Photo: Bloomberg

BS Web Team New Delhi
Well, this time it's for real. On Thursday, Elon Musk-owned microblogging platform Twitter started removing the legacy blue ticks from the profiles of thousands of celebrities, journalists and politicians worldwide. The check marks that helped verify the identity of these people and distinguish them from impostors are now a part of the Twitter Blue package.

The ticks will now only be given to those who pay a monthly subscription fee for Twitter Blue. According to media reports, Twitter had about 300,000 verified users under the original blue-check system. The checks began disappearing from these users' profiles late at night on Thursday.

High-profile users who lost their blue checks Thursday included Shah Rukh Khan, Virat Kohli, Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Rohit Sharma and politicians like UP CM Adityanath, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Internationally, Beyonce, Pope Francis and former US President Donald Trump were among those who lost their blue ticks.

In March, Twitter posted from their official handle, "On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified check marks. To keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue."

Musk launched Twitter Blue with the tick mark badge as one of the premium perks within two weeks of the company's takeover last year.

What was Twitter's blue tick?

Twitter first introduced the blue check mark system in 2009 to help users identify that celebrities, politicians, companies and brands, news organisations and other accounts "of public interest" were genuine and not impostors or parody accounts. The company didn't previously charge for verification.

Initially, these blue ticks served as a way of protecting well-known individuals from impersonation and tackling false information.

What did Elon Musk change?

After buying Twitter for $44 billion in October last year, Musk has been trying to boost the struggling platform's revenue by pushing more people to pay for a premium subscription.

In December, Musk announced that he would introduce the Twitter Blue package, offering a blue tick and several other features. Those not subscribing to the Twitter Blue pack will lose their blue ticks, he said.

What is Twitter Blue?

Twitter Blue is the platform's new subscription that adds the blue checkmark to the user's account and offers early access to several features.

What does Twitter Blue offer?

According to Twitter's website, "In addition to the blue checkmark, Twitter Blue features offer subscribers a way to enhance and customise their Twitter experience."

Among several features, it allows users to edit or undo their tweet up to 5 times within 30 minutes of posting it. This would also be provided for quote tweets. The users will be allowed to update their posts, tag someone and reorder the media.

The subscription will also allow the users to change the themes of their accounts from blue to other colours.

Twitter Blue also offers prioritised ranking to the verified users in the ranking.

The subscribers will also see 50 per cent fewer ads in their home timeline.

"As a Twitter Blue subscriber, you can add another layer of protection to your account with access to two-factor authentication via SMS," the micro-blogging site's website reads.

Recently, Twitter increased the tweet length for Twitter Blue subscribers to 10,000 characters.

How much does Twitter Blue cost?

Twitter Blue is available for a monthly fee of Rs 650 on the web and Rs 900 on mobile devices. For the annual pack, the subscription price in India is Rs 6,800.

The monthly subscription price for iOS and Android app users is Rs 900.

In the US, the Twitter Blue subscription costs $8 a month via the web and $11 monthly through the in-app payment on iOS and Android.

Twitter reportedly also told businesses to pay $1,000 per month for retaining gold badges, and brands and organisations which do not pay the money will lose their checkmarks.

Twitter Blue subscriptions are non-refundable.

Is there any problem with Twitter Blue?

Twitter does not verify the individual accounts to ensure they are who they say they are, as was the case with the previous blue check doled out during the platform's pre-Musk administration.

After the takeover, Musk briefly launched Twitter Blue. However, the platform was quickly inundated by impostor accounts, including those impersonating Nintendo, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Musk's businesses, Tesla and SpaceX. Twitter had to temporarily suspend the service days after its launch.

Are there any other ticks?

Twitter has assigned grey ticks to the government officials of the countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among others, has been given a grey tick.

For organisations, Twitter has launched the "Verified Organisations" programme. It will assign a golden checkmark for $1,000/month (plus any applicable tax) to the organisation plus its five affiliate accounts. Twitter will charge $50/month (plus any applicable tax) for each additional affiliate.

Several media organisations like The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have subscribed to this.

Will free Twitter go away?

"Free Twitter isn't going away. Twitter Blue simply offers an opt-in layer of customisation for your Twitter experience," the company's website says.

(With agency inputs)

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First Published: Apr 21 2023 | 9:05 AM IST

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