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Twitter enters its chaotic new multi-colored check mark phase

It took several weeks longer than expected, but it seems that this time Elon Musk’s paid verification system has really started working. Some users can go into their settings and pay $8 or $11 a month to join Twitter Blue, which gives them a blue check mark, the ability to edit posts, and a few other benefits, most of which are still in the section “coming soon” stage: less ads, the ability to post longer videos and your tweets will be amplified compared to those of the dirty and unchecked masses.

The change was controversial, mainly because it makes the meaningless original purpose of blue checks and verification. Those blue checks were handed out to Twitter users deemed notable in any way or in danger of being impersonated, such as celebrities, brands, and (much to the consternation of many on the right) journalists. In a few months, the only thing the blue checks will tell you is that someone paid for one.

But that is not all! You’ve probably noticed that the blue checkmarks you add to some Twitter accounts have started to change. Some have become a completely different color. Others are now described as ambiguously noteworthy. And, if Musk’s plans work out, you’ll see many more blue ticks in the future. You simply won’t know who is behind them.

If you have questions about all of this, we have some answers.

Why are some check marks gold?

No need to get your eyes checked: some of the ticks have actually changed color. When Musk first attempted to post his version of Twitter Blue, things didn’t go well. This was mainly because Twitter Blue had no real way of verifying the identities of signing up accounts because Musk didn’t seem to understand why he should. He outsourced some of that work to the App Store, figuring that because people had to have an App Store account to get Twitter Blue—and because they’d pay for it—it would be sufficient verification and a deterrent to trolls.

It was not. Twitter was soon flooded with tweets from supposedly real, verified accounts with blue checkmarks saying they’d do things like ask their NBA team for a trade (like a fake but verified LeBron James account did), give away diabetes meds for free (like a fake but verified Eli Lilly account did), or simply by having their mascot abandon their loyal customers (like a fake but verified Nintendo account did). Skeletal crew of Twitter employees left after Musk’s deep job cuts I couldn’t handle the onslaught of fakes and some tweets stayed active for hours. Brands, whose ads account for the vast majority of Twitter’s revenue, didn’t like this.

To try and prevent this from happening again, Twitter has now turned the blue checkmarks that businesses had into gold checkmarks. If you go to the account profile and click on the gold checkmark, a window will appear saying that the account “is verified because it is an official business on Twitter”. So now, if you see an account with a blue tick tweeting that it’s making insulin free, you definitely know it’s not the real Eli Lilly account promising that because the real Eli Lilly account has a gold tick . And then the actions of Eli Lilly it won’t fall anymore. Right?

What happens to blue checkmarks that don’t turn gold?

Checkmarks on accounts that are not official companies will remain blue, turn gray, or disappear. Government accounts will get a gray checkmark at some point in the near future. “Legacy” blue checkmarks are now described as “may or may not be notable”. Moss too He says that legacy accounts will eventually have to pay or lose their ticks “in a few months.”

So, for a few months, some of the blue checks you see will belong to people who paid them and some will belong to people who didn’t, but who are remarkable. Or not remarkable.

Wait, didn’t that happen a month ago?

Musk had big plans to release Twitter Blue as early as November 7, but ultimately had to delay it by a few days. When it was finally released, an entirely predictable mess ensued with the fake but verified accounts. This has made Twitter the most fun in a while, as long as you weren’t one of the accounts that was impersonated or have shares in a brand that was. Musk then had to restore his beloved Twitter Blue. After several delays, he finally came back.

How does Twitter ensure that chaos doesn’t ensue this time?

The gold checkmarks are supposed to help people know which accounts are “official business” and which aren’t. We’ll see how it works. Over the next few days, if not weeks or months, people will continue to associate blue checks with official things and gold and gray checks with nothing.

Fortunately, however, there are a few more protections. According to Musk, someone will manually verify each account before giving it the check mark, and the check mark will be temporarily removed if they change the name until it can be verified again. This is to avoid people getting their checks and then immediately changing their name to some other drug company that sells insulin or Sonic the Hedgehog kidding us or whatever.

Why is the price different on the website and the App Store?

Musk originally said Twitter Blue would cost $20 a month. Then, celebrated author Stephen King said it was too expensive, so Musk changed it to $8 (technically $7.99 since, at the time, the update was only available through the App Store, which requires developers to use prices ending in .99). Before Musk tried to launch Twitter Blue again, he realized that Apple takes a percentage of the subscription fees from the top of the money that otherwise would have gone to him. This infuriated Musk, who made a two-day tweet where he complained on App Store rates and also claimed (falsely, it turned out) that Apple was threatening to remove Twitter from the App Store entirely. Musk then took a trip to Apple headquarters (at the invitation of CEO Tim Cook, he said) and felt better about things.

It also raised the price for Twitter Blue subscriptions purchased through the App Store to $11. If that seems too steep for you, Twitter Blue subscriptions can also be purchased through the Twitter website at Stephen-King’s adjusted price. $8 (plus tax if applicable).

I have an android phone. Where is my Twitter Blue? 🙁

You can’t join Twitter Blue via the Android app yet, but you can still join via the website. The Android app subscription capability is, probably, on the way. As well as Twitter Blue for countries not currently supported by it, presumably. The launch of Twitter Blue has been pretty chaotic so far, so who knows.

Why should I pay for this?

We’ll see how many people are willing to pay. Musk clearly thinks that’s enough to make him a good chunk of Twitter’s revenue when all is said and done. It may be necessary now because Musk has scared many of Twitter’s advertisers with his antics. But he still has a long way to go. Twitter’s revenue was $5.1 billion in 2021, the equivalent of approximately 53,125,000 Twitter Blue subscribers.

The exterior of the Twitter building in San Francisco, with the blue Twitter bird logo high up on the wall.

A verified image of Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, California. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images