TWITTER has removed blue ticks from notable accounts which were verified before Elon Musk announced that it would be a paid subscription.
The ICIR observed this development on Thursday, April 20 after checking various legacy-verified accounts.
Initially, Twitter created its verification system with the aim of boosting users’ confidence in the platform by placing a blue check mark next to the names of public figures, companies, journalists, and organisations.
However, currently, the blue check mark can be obtained by paying a monthly fee of $7.99. This move is part of Musk’s efforts to increase the company’s revenue, which he acquired for $44 billion nearly six months ago.
In addition to a check mark, Twitter Blue subscribers’ tweets are also prioritised by Twitter, meaning that they appear higher in users’ feeds.
Also, organisations seeking verification badges instead have to pay a monthly fee of $1,000 (£810) to receive a gold verification tick, while individual accounts must pay $8 (£6.40) a month for a blue one.
Twitter had earlier announced that it will phase out Legacy verification from April 20, meaning that only Twitter Blue subscribers would be eligible for the ticks
The ICIR observed that some notable accounts in Nigeria such as politicians, social media influencers, media platforms and journalists who had not subscribed to Twitter blue had their blue tick removed today.
For instance, the blue tick has been removed from the accounts of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi as of the time of filing this report.
Popular celebrities such as Ayodeji Balogun known as Wizkid and David Adeleke also known as Davido also had their blue ticks removed as of April 20.
This is not only limited to Nigeria, legendary footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo who is one of the most followed personalities on social media also had his blue tick removed.
The ICIR had earlier reported that Twitter announced the $8 blue tick fee on November 6, 2022, as a way of generating revenue after Musk took control.
But this led to increased emergence of fraudulent accounts, making the microblogging platform to pause the service temporarily.
The Twitter boss later rolled out new updates for the verification system on December 2, 2022.
Meanwhile, a News Guard’s ‘misinformation monitor’ report warned that Twitter’s “blue check” which was previously used to indicate an account’s authenticity, has now become a tool for propagators of false information to present themselves as credible.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.