Twitter’s decision to remove the blue check marks from all verified accounts on Thursday has caused a stir among top Indian celebrities and politicians. The move came as part of Twitter’s new policy, which only allows individual Twitter users that pay for the premium Twitter Blue subscription to retain their verified credential. This subscription costs USD 8/month via the web and USD 11/month through in-app payment on iOS and Android.
Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Alia Bhatt, along with cricketers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, were among the celebrities who lost their blue checks. The list also included politicians such as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
Twitter first introduced the blue check mark system in 2009 to verify the authenticity of accounts belonging to individuals, companies, brands, news organizations, and other accounts “of public interest”. The blue check used to serve as a way of protecting well-known individuals from impersonation and to tackle false information. However, the company did not previously charge for verification.
In March, Twitter announced that it would be winding down its legacy verified program and removing legacy verified check marks. It also stated that to keep the blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals could sign up for Twitter Blue. The move was seen as a way to monetize Twitter’s verification process and generate revenue.
Twitter Blue was launched by Elon Musk with the check-mark badge as one of the premium perks within two weeks of the company’s takeover last year. The subscription service offers additional features such as an undo tweet button, a reader mode, and customizable app icons.
The removal of blue checks has sparked outrage among some Twitter users, who argue that it unfairly targets those who cannot afford to pay for a premium subscription. However, Twitter has defended its decision, stating that it is necessary to ensure the authenticity of verified accounts and combat misinformation.