As of Saturday, April 1, Twitter says it will begin removing “legacy” verified badges from individuals and organizations approved under the company’s previous criteria.
Starting the 1st, only paying customers will be granted the verified check-marks, which are now blue for individuals, gold for brands and companies, and gray for governmental organizations.
Twitter says it will charge businesses and organizations $1,000 per month(in the U.S.), including nonprofits and governments, to retain their verified status. In addition, the company will levy a $50 monthly charge for each affiliate subaccount (i.e., employees, brands or divisions).
But apparently not all organizations will have to pay Musk for the privilege. Twitter will waive the $1,000 monthly fee for its 500 largest advertising clients and for the 10,000 most-followed brands, companies and organizations that have been previously verified, the New York Times reported, citing an internal Twitter document.
The most-followed companies, brands and organizations on Twitter include @Twitter itself, as well as YouTube, NASA, CNN, ESPN, the New York Times, the NBA and the BBC’s breaking news account. (Variety‘s Twitter account, with 2.9 million followers, currently ranks as the 2,739th most-followed account on the platform, per analytics firm SocialBlade.)
A request for comment sent to Twitter’s PR account returned an automated reply with a poop emoji (a change Musk announced last week). Musk has previously blasted Twitter’s previous system of verification as “corrupt and nonsensical.”
On Thursday, Musk quote-tweeted the Twitter @verified account’s post about the Verified Organizations subscription plan, saying, “Important to establish whether someone actually belongs to an organization or not so as to avoid impersonation.” According to the Twitter post, “We’ve already seen organizations, including sports teams, news organizations, financial firms, Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits join Verified Organizations and list their affiliated accounts publicly on their profiles.”
After William Shatner complained about Twitter’s plan to rescind legacy blue check-marks unless users pay for them, Musk responded, “It’s more about treating everyone equally,” Musk tweeted Sunday evening in replying to Shatner. “There shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities imo.” Last fall, after Stephen King also griped about Twitter’s switch to paid verification, Musk said, “We need to pay the bills somehow!”
The Times’ report published Thursday focused on Musk’s alleged attempt to meet with Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan to discuss the agency’s investigation into Twitter’s privacy and data-security practices. According to the report, Musk’s request to meet with Khan “was rebuffed.” The Times article noted that it’s unusual for CEOs of companies being investigated by the FTC to meet with any of its commissioners.
It’s truly a new day over at Twitter.