Twitter Blue, which is currently undergoing yet another rebranding process to “X Blue” under the direction of Elon Musk, has introduced a feature allowing Blue subscribers to hide their “earned” blue checkmarks. This development provides users with the discretion to mask the fact that they are paying for the platform’s premium services, sidestepping potential ridicule and memes that mockingly poke fun at the blatant display of an individual’s proud blue check.
The blue checkmark, a symbol that has been synonymous with Twitter’s verification system, in addition to Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, has undergone several transformations over the years.
Originally, it served as a badge of authenticity, distinguishing genuine accounts from potential impersonators, initially available to only members of the media, certain A-list Hollywood talent, and politicians. Over the years, the means by which people came to “earn” their blue check was fueled and powered by a “pay to play” landscape where users were able to “purchase” their blue check through third parties who knew how to navigate the system and more often than not, through actual Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter employees.
However, the entire account verification landscape surrounding a blue checkmark changed when Musk introduced the option for any user to attain “verification” status through a Blue subscription, for just $8 USD. This move immediately led to a surge in fake accounts seeking the coveted blue checkmark, causing waves of massive harm to media publishers, Hollywood talent, and those businesses and public figures who had rightfully (in most cases) earned their verification.
The subsequent confusion prompted Twitter to revamp its verification system, removing blue checkmarks from legacy verified accounts and altering the display of these checkmarks multiple times.
Hiding Your Blue Check
Now, with the latest update, Twitter Blue subscribers will have the choice to display a blue checkmark on their profiles, accompanied by a “verified since” date (similar to how Instagram currently shows it under the ‘About This Profile.’
This date indicates the time when the account was initially verified on the platform, prior to the introduction of the Blue subscription system. Notably, users with a following of 1M or more followers will automatically receive blue checkmarks.
While the option to hide the blue checkmark offers users greater flexibility, there are caveats.
As per a Twitter support article, “[t]he checkmark will be hidden on your profile and posts,” it reads in part, noting that “[t]he checkmark may still appear in some places and some features could still reveal you have an active subscription.” It also says that some of Blue’s features may not be available while a user’s checkmark is hidden.
Throw Up the “X”
The ongoing transformation of Twitter Blue, soon to be “X Blue,” is part of Musk’s broader vision for the platform. He envisions creating an “everything app,” potentially integrating a payment system in the future, already referring to X as a future finance platform.
This ambition was symbolically represented last week when Twitter’s iconic blue bird logo was replaced with a temporary “X” logo. This change was not just digital; an eye-catching, flashing “X” sign was also installed atop Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters – until it was removed by the city of San Francisco after alerting X of its permit violation and receiving 24 complaints about the sign.
While Twitter’s abrupt rebranding to “X” has certainly received mixed feelings from users, there are some that believe that change is inevitable, but still should take Musk’s initiatives with a “grain of salt.”
Timmy Ghiurau, co-founder of The Point Labs, believes that similar to Google’s rebranding under Alphabet and Facebook’s transformation into Meta, Twitter also needs a similar restructuring that shifts towards a “more, interconnected experience.”
He also acknowledged the understandable concerns from the tech communities, including the crypto and NFT sectors. “The fear that these communities and networks could lose their value, especially if their main platforms of communication remain uncertain while undergoing continuous transformation, is another reason for such concern. Ghiurau also encourages users and the Web3 community to actively engage in these discussions which help to shape a digital future that balances a user’s convenience with individual privacy rights.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Despite the rebranding efforts, remnants of the original Twitter Blue branding remain evident across various sections of the platform. The “X Blue” subscription page, for instance, still contains multiple references to “Twitter Blue.”
As digital platforms continue to adapt to user preferences and the broader market landscape, Twitter’s latest move underscores the platform’s commitment to offering its users a tailored experience. It remains to be seen how these changes will shape the future of social media interactions and the way users perceive premium subscription services.