Twitter tweeted on Saturday that its Twitter Blue subscription service would be relaunched on Monday, giving subscribers the now-controversial “blue tick”, but this time with some kind of verification process meant to prevent impersonations on the site. The checkmark and other features will cost users $8 per month if they subscribe via web and $11 per month if they subscribe on iOS, Twitter said.
“When you subscribe, you get Edit Tweet, 1080p video downloads, player mode, and a blue tick (after reviewing your account),” the company said in its tweet thread. It’s unclear what this account review entails, though an image included in the thread mentions the need for a “verified phone number.”
Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has been playing with verification marks since he took over. Last month, it introduced an $8-a-month Twitter Blue subscription that blurred the line between authenticated individuals and paid accounts. This led to a slew of people impersonating celebrities and corporations, which caused chaos and prompted Twitter to suspend Twitter Blue signups.
On Saturday, Esther Crawford, product manager at Twitter, said in her own Tweeter that “we’ve added a review step before applying a blue tick to an account as one of our new steps to combat identity theft”. When asked by a Twitter user if granting the blue tick would involve verifying a user through an ID, Crawford replied“We don’t have identity verification in this update.”
Before Musk came up with the idea of combining the blue checkmark with the Twitter Blue subscription service, the verification process traditionally involved things like submitting government-issued ID and proving that you were a “prominent person”. Musk’s pay-for-verification setup had reviews saying the blue check mark had become meaningless.
In late November, Musk tweeted a plan that would see companies get a gold verification checkmark, government entities getting one that is gray. “Blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before verification is enabled,” Musk tweeted at the time, saying more details would be provided later. He also said that individuals could also have a smaller secondary logo stating “that they belong to an organization if verified as such by that organization.”
The Saturday feed on Twitter said the gold and gray checkmark plan for business and government will come into effect. This too said Twitter Blue followers “will be able to change their username, display name, or profile picture, but if they do, they will temporarily lose the blue tick until their account is reviewed again.” During the recent spoofing chaos, some Twitter users had changed their display names to impersonate others.
Twitter did not respond to an email on Saturday requesting more information about the verification review process.
Saturday’s Twitter feed also said Twitter Blue followers would “rise to the top of replies, mentions, and searches,” see half the ads, and be able to post longer videos.
Twitter Blue subscribers who previously signed up via iOS for the previous price of $8 per month will receive a notification about the new monthly iOS cost of $11 and can then choose to subscribe via web instead, at the rate of $8, Crawford tweeted. Last month, Musk complained about fees charged by Apple to developers and businesses for customer purchases made through the App Store on iOS.
Crawford said the iOS and web versions will offer the same functionality, and Android users can shop on the web and use Twitter Blue on their devices.