Elon Musk can have this blue checkmark back because I refuse to pay for Twitter

OPINION: As of April 1, all legacy verified accounts on Twitter will lose their blue checkmarks unless they pay a monthly fee, which is entirely ridiculous.

Elon Musk, theGrio.com
Elon Musk attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I never asked Twitter to verify me; they did it on their own. 

I had gone viral for challenging Ellen Pompeo on her white privilege and the way she was being dismissive to Black women who were asking her about her use of Black emojis. The conversation was written about in multiple media outlets, and I woke up one morning to find the ubiquitous “blue check” by my name. 

At the time, the blue checkmark was supposed to signal to other people that you were who you said you were, whether that was a celebrity, an athlete, a journalist, an academic or any number of notable people with a voice and reach on the platform that could subject them to impersonation. 

The blue checkmark meant Twitter had confirmed that you were this person, and for people who actually applied for verification, this was the case; they were required to send a copy of their government ID to Twitter in order to prove their identity. 

For the most part, the old system worked; people knew and understood that people with blue checks were someone worth noting in their field. 

Somewhere along the way, this devolved into people thinking those of us with blue checks were in some sort of elitist cabal, and the blue check became something that was both coveted and despised. “Blue check Twitter” became a pejorative, and “Black blue check” even more so. 

For me personally, that checkmark simply painted a target on my back. For whatever reason, people seemed to think there was a lottery that awarded you millions of dollars once you got the coveted blue check and you were instantly rich. If only that were true, lolsob. 

There were also those who believed a blue check meant they could heap abuse onto you time and time again any time they disagreed with anything you said. 

It didn’t matter if you said something as innocuous as “I prefer sunshine over rain.” There would be a horde of people flooding your mentions to tell you how much you hate the climate if you hate rain and how much of an idiot you are to like the sun. Daily. Around the clock. Relentlessly. I think you get my point. 

None of that matters anymore, because as of April 1, all legacy blue checkmarks will be removed, and the only way to keep one is to subscribe to the Twitter Blue service. 

Ever since Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he seems to be on a mission to destroy everything good about the app one bad decision at a time, and his latest stunt proves that he is a nincompoop who deserves to lose the $44 billion he spent on the world’s most expensive online game of idiocy — which is what he has turned Twitter into since becoming the CEO. 

Elon has been promoting Twitter Blue for a while now. Twitter describes it as, “our premium subscription service that elevates quality conversations on Twitter.”

How exactly it “elevates quality conversations” is unclear, especially given that one of the perks for joining is receiving a blue checkmark on your account. Receiving the blue checkmark is a highly promoted perk of the Twitter Blue service, and is likely the biggest draw for those who have already elected to join it. 

For $8 a month (or $7 a month if you pay for a full year upfront), users receive the ability to edit tweets for up to 30 minutes after they have been posted; post tweets of up to 4,000 characters; upload 1080p video (aka full HD); bookmark folders; custom Twitter app icons for your phone; NFT profile pictures; different color theme options for the mobile app; a special tab for Twitter Spaces; “Top Articles,” which is a shortcut to the most shared articles by the people you follow; the ability to upload videos up to 60 minutes in length; and the ability to use SMS two-factor authentication. 

Nothing in that list is worth $8 a month. 

While Twitter users have long begged for an “edit tweet” function, I don’t think anyone wants it badly enough to pay $8 for it. The ability to post 4,000-character tweets is weird. Twitter is and always has been a “micro-blogging” platform. If you want to post 4,000 characters, either thread it or take it over to Facebook where they do that type of thing on the regular. Similarly, if you need to upload a 60-minute video to Twitter, you need a YouTube channel, boo. 

When you click the Twitter Blue signup button on the web app, it offers the additional promise that your tweets will be prioritized in replies, mentions and searches, which they claim helps to “fight scams and spam,” but I don’t see how that is possible when anyone can sign up for the service and the only thing they verify is your phone number. How exactly is that preventing scams and spam? 

Elon is basically eroding the true value of the blue checkmark while simultaneously trying to extort those who have legacy verification into paying to keep it, and I can guarantee you no one is going to do that. 

Like most clueless people, Elon seems to view the blue checkmark as a status symbol rather than a signifier that a person is legitimately who they say they are. He is under the misguided assumption that people care so much about the status of the blue check that they would be willing to pay for it, and he is dead wrong about that. 

In addition to charging individuals $8 a month for verification, he wants to charge companies $1,000 a month to keep their blue check marks as well. 

CNN’s Oliver Darcy reports that the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, Vox Media, Washington Post and CNN have all said they will not be paying for verified status. 

As usual, Elon’s plan to bilk users out of money is backfiring. A Feb. 7 report indicates there are currently only 180,000 users paying for the service. 

In other words, everyone is like nah. 

Listen, Elon. You can come and get this blue check, mark

It’s not the status symbol you think it is or want it to be, and it’s highly likely you are further killing the platform with this simpleton move. 

Good luck with that. 

Also, if you decide to subscribe to Twitter Blue, we finna laugh at you

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.

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