The rise of social media platforms has brought with it a variety of features that help users identify legitimate accounts. One such feature is the blue check mark, which is intended to indicate that an account has been verified as authentic by the platform. However, the use of the blue check mark has become increasingly confusing and controversial, particularly with the recent controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s alleged payment for celebrity verification. Elon Musk bought Twitter for an overpriced $44b and as you would expect, he swung into looking for ways for Twitter to make money. One of these methods was to monetise the blue checkmark under the Twitter Blue feature. Anyone with $8 would now have the once coveted blue checkmark and so far the numbers have not been so great. Less than 5 percent of Twitter users pay for the service and this may have prompted Elon Musk to prioritise the Twitter Blue users in the news feed. This means that you will see less of people you actually follow for Twitter Blue users in your feed.
Verified accounts are now prioritized
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2023
The controversy surrounding Elon Musk began in 2021 when he tweeted that he would be paying for celebrity verification on Twitter. The tweet sparked a backlash from some users who argued that the blue check mark was supposed to be an indication of authenticity, not a status symbol for celebrities. Musk’s tweet also led to accusations that Twitter was allowing celebrities to buy their way into legitimacy, undermining the integrity of the verification process.
Despite these accusations, many celebrities and public figures have come forward to deny that they paid for their blue check mark. Some have even claimed that they were verified without their knowledge or consent, leading to further confusion and controversy.
My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t.
My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 20, 2023
Why is my twitter saying I subscribed to twitter blue? Are people paying for others? Because I didn’t.
— Uche Jombo (@uchejombo) April 23, 2023
Hello @twitter @verified
What you are doing here is fraudulent misrepresentation. I did not subscribe to Twitter blue. Kindly take off the blue tick or give it, its proper explanation of why you gave it. Your action is affecting me as it leads to people questioning my… pic.twitter.com/ybxjnFg21G
— Aisha Yesufu (@AishaYesufu) April 23, 2023
This confusion and controversy have given rise to new social media platforms like Bluesky and Mastodon, which are attempting to create more transparent and decentralized verification processes. These platforms allow users to verify their identities using a variety of methods, including biometric data and government-issued IDs, in order to create a more secure and trustworthy environment for social media users.
Bluesky: 20,000 users
HiveSocial: 2 million total users
Mastodon: 1.4 million monthly active users
Twitter: 238 million DAILY active users.
Please, please stop pretending like these new social networks are viable Twitter replacements. They are microscopic.
— Jack Appleby (@jappleby) April 24, 2023
The blue check mark controversy highlights the need for more transparent and equitable verification processes on social media platforms. While the blue check mark was originally intended to indicate authenticity, its use as a status symbol has led to confusion and controversy. Platforms like Bluesky and Mastodon offer a promising alternative, providing users with a more secure and transparent way to verify their identities and build trust with their followers.