Starting today, Twitter users in several countries can sign up for a subscription that gives them a verified account for a fee. Such an account, identifiable by a blue checkmark behind the username, is currently assigned to a specific Twitter group. Large corporations and public figures are eligible, among others.
It was already clear that Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, had plans for a subscription service Familiar. For now, the service is only available on Apple devices in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Users can get Blue Check for $7.99 per month.
The Blue Tick system was introduced in 2009 to prevent the creation of fake accounts for politicians and celebrities. For a few years, every Twitterer can ask for such a tick, after which the social network verifies the authenticity of the user. Twitter will get a blue tick next to the username if it shows that the user is ‘important’ and can prove their identity.
Thanks to that verification, other Twitter users know for sure that an account is verified and therefore belongs to the person in question. Experts fear that the new subscription system will mean that users will no longer be able to determine whether accounts are real or not.
The new system comes a day after Twitter owner Musk announced that half of the company’s employees would be out of a job. According to Musk, who paid more than 44 billion euros to buy Twitter, mass layoffs are necessary to ensure the future success of the tech company.
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