On April 1, 2023, Twitter announced that it would be ending its legacy verified blue checkmark program. This means that any account that was verified under the old system will no longer have their blue checkmark (including the one yours truly has had since 2016).
This is a very bad idea for several reasons. First, it will make it more difficult for users to identify credible sources of information. The blue checkmark was a way for users to know that an account was legitimate and not a fake account. Without the blue checkmark, it will be more difficult for users to know who to trust. The legacy verified accounts all had to prove who they were in order to be verified. I had to submit a photo of my U.S. Passport in order to be verified. Now all a blue check mark signifies is that a user signed up for Twitter Blue. No proof of who you are is required.
Second, it will give a platform to misinformation and disinformation. Without the blue checkmark, it will be easier for people to spread false information without being identified. This will have a major negative impact on public discourse and will lead to people making decisions based on false information.
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Third, it will lead to less quality content on Twitter. Several major publications (including NPR and PBS), and celebrities (Elton John, Jim Carrey, LeBron James and countless others) have either announced they are leaving or have already left). Without verification, these publications/celebs will be forced to contend with countless imitators, so they’re leaving instead of dealing with that mess.
In addition to the reasons listed above, there are countless other potential consequences of Twitter ending legacy verified blue check marks:
- It could lead to a decrease in trust in Twitter as a platform (this is already happening).
- It could make it more difficult for users to find and follow the accounts of public figures and experts (yup – this is happening too).
- It could give a platform to trolls and bots (again – this is already happening).
- It could make it more difficult for users to report abuse and harassment (this is absolutely 100% happening).
Overall, Twitter ending legacy verified blue check marks is bad from both a business and brand perspective, and will lead to a much worse experience on the platform.
I have loved using Twitter for almost 15 years now. It is truly sad to see what was once a great social channel going down in flames the way it is right now. The world needs a functioning Twitter (or new platform, which doesn’t seem to exist). We need a place to read real-time news that we can trust is legitimate. These decisions by Twitter will make that close to impossible on their platform.
I hope they realize the error of their ways, but I’m not holding my breath.