Oh, the blue checkmark, an endless source of ridicule and FOMO from those without on the socials. The Twitter version of “The Sneetches” has been raging since its inception. Users want to know who gets Verified, who doesn’t, how it happens, and why some of the biggest accounts on Twitter aren’t Verified.
Obviously, the super famous need a blue check so people know it’s not an impostor account. Same for government employees and journalists, so people can trust the information coming from that account — or not trust it, if it’s a Verified MAGA person or source.
So when it was announced that Twitter’s (hopefully temporary) new owner, Elon Musk, is going to start charging $20 a month to keep your blue check or buy one regardless of your status, the reaction was predictably negative.
How much would you pay to be verified & get a blue check mark on Twitter?
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@Jason) October 31, 2022
“The directive is to change Twitter Blue, the company’s optional, $4.99 a month subscription that unlocks additional features, into a more expensive subscription that also verifies users, according to people familiar with the matter and internal correspondence seen by The Verge.”
“Twitter is currently planning to charge $19.99 for the new Twitter Blue subscription. Under the current plan, verified users would have 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark. Employees working on the project were told on Sunday that they need to meet a deadline of November 7th to launch the feature or they will be fired,” The Verge reported.
So billionaire Elon Maga overpays to acquire Twitter, waiving all due diligence, and then wants us to help him pay for this folly by selling blue checks, as he tweets crazy conspiracy theories. Do I have this right?
— Richard Signorelli (@richsignorelli) October 31, 2022
As a Verified user, I can tell you having that blue checkmark brings peace of mind more than anything else. I have been mercilessly trolled online every single day of my life since Donald Trump descended that gold escalator in 2015 and flung his full Depends all over our political system.
I got mine because a bunch of MAGAts made a Twitter account that looked exactly like mine, then posted a picture of the house I lived in at the time, along with my address and landline number. The harassment was like nothing I’d ever experienced, and to their credit, Twitter Verified me within a couple of hours after my submission.
The blue checks aren’t there to be “elitist.” They’re essential for so many of us who need protection. Those of us who write about politics are especially vulnerable to MAGA attacks and parodies.
I'm actually skeptical whether this $20 monthly for your blue check thing will come to pass because it's almost certain to be a colossal failure. There's a reason why literally no social network has ever tried to do anything like it. But let's get down to some specifics.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) October 31, 2022
Is Elon Musk going to charge the entire White House staff $20, including the President? Is he going to charge every news outlet, every journalist, and every celebrity, including himself?
It’s a ridiculous idea, not to mention it’s basically extortion to push your employees to meet a quota of new Twitter Blue subscribers or be fired.
Elon is about to turn a blue check into a Tinder Super Like: something you only pay for if you’re thirsty af. https://t.co/iNksmo69nS
— Max Berger (@maxberger) October 31, 2022
GO AWAY, Elon. You could buy Gab, Parler, Telegram, Rumble, and Truth Social for a fraction of what you can’t afford to pay for Twitter.
Your investors are going to lose hundreds of millions and so are you.
Tara Dublin is a woefully underappreciated and unrepresented writer currently shopping a super cool novel that has nothing to do with politics while also fighting fascism on the daily.
Follow her on Twitter @taradublinrocks.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.