Twitter has changed its approach to verifying accounts and users, removing a public display of verification for many public figures.
Users with a check mark on their accounts are still verified, but for the Twitter Blue service, which comes with a list of features, subscribers are asked to pay $8 per month to take advantage of Twitter Blue on the web. The price goes up to $11 monthly for Twitter Blue on mobile devices.
But viewing the profiles of many celebrities and public figures, it's hard to tell if you're viewing an authentic account. Twitter also had removed its differentiation between public figures who were given a blue check mark for their status and those who were paying for the Twitter Blue service.
You may see various colors on the check mark icons on different pages.
Scripps News producer Roey Hadar explained it this way, using accounts related to former U.S. President Barack Obama as an example:
"Gold" check marks identify the verified account of a brand, so for the former president's "The Obama Office" account, you'll see that indicated there.
For Obama's former presidential account "POTUS44," you'll see it identified with a "gray" check mark, identifying it as being affiliated with a government organization.
The former president's personal account, "BarackObama," has a blue check mark, but there's no way to tell from that mark whether he paid for Twitter Blue, or if Twitter decided to issue the check mark to him.
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But which celebrities pay and which don't? It's really hard to tell unless they want to reveal that detail of their private finances.
Author Stephen King has publicly protested against the idea of paying for a blue check mark and said he had not subscribed or given details to Twitter, including his phone number, according to reports. Yet, on the author's Twitter profile, which boasts over 7 million followers, his check mark was blue as of April 20.
King said Thursday, "My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t."
Elon Musk posted tweets Thursday indicating in some cases, he was paying for some users' Twitter Blue in order to market the service, including for King and basketball star LeBron James.
That raised the question of which celebrities' accounts were still verified. Since they're not public figures or brands, if they had a blue check after Twitter's changes, it would be likelier that they're paying for the Twitter Blue service. Taylor Swift's account still had a checkmark. Selena Gomez, Shakira, Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian were among the celebrities with large followings who did not have a check mark on their profile anymore.
Rihanna did have a blue check.
And the list goes on.
Took this screenshot a minute ago... did @taylorswift13 pay for Twitter Blue??
Apparently Selena Gomez, Shakira, and Kim Kardashian did not. pic.twitter.com/ECCUeXbgMT
— Roey Hadar (@roeyhadar) April 20, 2023
Features for Twitter Blue include the ability to edit tweets within a 30 minute window, to see half the number of ads on the platform, to write longer tweets and to be able to format text.
While these features could be useful for many notable names in the public eye, it still wasn't clear if paying for the service was actually the gateway to getting these features.
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