Twitter has announced that it’ll start “winding down” its legacy verified program and removing “legacy verified checkmarks” starting on April 1st, and is telling users to subscribe to its Blue subscription if they want to keep their blue check.
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, the announcement isn’t necessarily a surprise. CEO Elon Musk has been promising to get rid of “legacy” blue check marks, or verification badges that were given under Twitter’s previous rules, since November, and he’s reiterated that they’d be going away “in coming months” several times. According to Musk, those verification badges were given out in a “corrupt and nonsensical” manner (though they are in fact quite useful for letting users confirm that the celebrities they’re interacting with are indeed the real person).
However, it’s also hard to ignore that April 1st is April Fools’ Day, the worst holiday, and that a large part of Elon Musk’s personality is being a troll. It’s extremely possible that this announcement, which came from the Twitter Verified account and not Musk’s account, is just an attempt to freak out people with legacy check marks. It’s a meme at this point that members of the press are overrepresented in the pool of legacy verified users, and these days Musk is clearly not a fan of the media.
It’s also possible that Twitter actually does intend to do this, and the date was just chosen as a troll, the way Musk likes to work 69 and 420 into almost everything he does. Also, it just added a huge banner advertising the change at the top of one verified Verge reporter’s timeline, so maybe it’s really going to happen.
Even if it’s serious about the date, Musk’s Twitter has made a lot of promises about the future of the service that haven’t been kept. For example, Musk announced a revenue sharing program in February, and his tweets are still the only thing we’ve heard about it. (Multiple Twitter Blue subscribers have told The Verge they also haven’t heard anything about the program.) Musk also promised to open source “all code used to recommend tweets” on March 31st, after missing his first self-imposed deadline to do so.
He did, however, keep his promise to make Twitter’s press email respond to inquires with a poop emoji, which it did when we sent a request for comment for this story.
This new timeline for the end of legacy checkmarks arrives as Twitter says it has now rolled out Twitter Blue subscriptions globally, even though several promised features are still missing. If you’re a brand or a government entity of some kind that requires non-Blue verification, Twitter has an application process for gray checkmarks for government bodies / officials and gold checkmarks for businesses (which, down the line, might come at a steep price).