Twitter launched last Wednesday an updated version of Twitter Blue, the platform’s subscription service that gives access to premium features. A major change in the social network after Elon Musk’s acquisition of the microblog was in the account verification system. Now anyone, even if they are not a public figure, can have the blue verified seal next to their name by paying $8 per month. For now, the service is only available for iPhone (iOS) users.
Twitter Blue was made a week ago and since then a wave of verified fake profiles posing as public figures and companies has emerged. Last Friday, Twitter users reported that the Twitter Blue subscription, which allows the purchase of the blue verification seal, was no longer available. It is not yet known what caused the unavailability of the service, but one hypothesis is that Twitter paused the signing of new accounts to try to deal with malicious use of the platform. Below, learn more about the controversy surrounding Twitter’s new verified seal and how to purchase the status.
What has changed in the Twitter Verification Seal? Understand the Controversy
Elon Musk’s new Twitter Blue now grants the verification seal to anyone who subscribes. In other words, all paying accounts signed up on iOS as of November 9 will automatically receive the blue seal next to their name, without prior review by the platform. The mark will only be available during the subscription period.
Before Musk’s tenure, Twitter only provided the verification seal to “active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest.” For example, artists, government officials, and journalists. Those interested needed to fill out a form requesting the seal. The company would then check whether the account was authentic and provide the verification for free. Now Twitter will no longer accept applications for account verification, and the procedure will be done exclusively by subscribing to the premium plan.
However, following reports involving the misuse of the blue seal, users reported last Friday (11) that the Twitter Blue subscription that allows the purchase of the verification seal was no longer available. Without giving details, Elon Musk in a response to a user of the platform on Saturday (12) stated that the paid plan will return “probably by the end of next week.”
I didn’t subscribe to Twitter Blue. Can I lose my verification seal?
According to Twitter’s rules, the blue verification seal can be removed whenever the user seriously or repeatedly violates the social network’s security, privacy, and authenticity rules. For example, violent attacks, harassment, hate speech, and other similar types of behavior, as well as spreading spam/fraud and impersonation, can cause a user to lose his or her verified.
Also, the seal can be automatically removed from inactive or incomplete accounts. That is accounts that do not have a verified email address or phone number, a profile picture, and a display name. Those who already had the seal and have not committed any of these infractions will not lose their seal.
How to buy the Twitter Verified Seal?
Twitter has released the new version of its subscription service for $8 per month for accounts created before November 9. For now, the subscription is only available for iPhone and iPad users and in the countries that already had the service: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. However, the sale of the subscription was suspended probably due to the confusion of the launch. The option to subscribe to Twitter Blue could be accessed from the sidebar of the iOS application.
In addition to the verification seal, another benefit of Twitter Blue is early access to features still in testing, such as the edit button, and extra tools such as personalized navigation and ad-free article reading. It is worth noting that Twitter will not stop being free. According to the new owner of the platform, this is just an effort to monetize the social network and make it less dependent on ads.
What the New Twitter Verification Seal Means
Before Musk’s move, the blue Twitter seal allowed you to identify accounts that were of public interest and authentic. To be verified, your account needed to be notable and active. It was a more bureaucratic process, requiring the submission of documents and other procedures that took days for review by the platform’s team.
The verification seal was supposed to function as an attestation of authenticity. People look at it and know that the profile belongs to that person. That is, they are following the profiles’ real publications. Now, after the release of the new version of Twitter Blue, the blue icon next to the profile name indicates that the user is a paid subscriber. In other words, its meaning has changed.
How do you differentiate between stamps obtained for purchase and authenticity on Twitter?
Initially, Twitter placed an “Official” (gray) stamp below the username to differentiate Twitter Blue subscribers from verified accounts because they have high visibility. However, hours after launch, Musk removed this feature.
The blue label was left responsible for differentiating those who buy the label from those who already had verification for authenticity. A warning about account verification is displayed when you hover your mouse over the label. When the stamp was purchased before Musk took over Twitter, the message “This account is verified because it is notable in government, news, entertainment or other designated category” appears. Now, for those who have purchased the seal, the message appears, “This account is verified because it is subscribed to Twitter Blue.” However, the seal is identical in both cases.
However, several reports have emerged of purchased verified accounts that are posing as individuals and companies, spreading hate speech, and running scams. Which led Twitter to backtrack and reactivate the gray seal. “To combat identity spoofing, we have added an ‘Official’ label to some accounts,” explains the tweet made by the platform’s support page.
Twitter and the dangers of digital security
Twitter Blue’s signature does not do the same data checking as the previous process to provide verification, which allows any account signed up for the service to have the label instantly. This change could pose a danger to users’ digital security, as fake verified accounts can be used for scams, phishing attacks, malware distribution, and spreading fake news and hate speech.
Two days after the feature was released, a fake account for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co registered on Twitter Blue posted “We are excited to announce that insulin is now free.” The company then needed to post a clarification on the brand’s real account on the social network. Former President Donald Trump and basketball star LeBron James have also had faked profiles checked. The numerous reports of cases involving the malicious use of the label may have prompted the temporary suspension of the service.