Yes, Paid Verification on Twitter Is a Mistake

News & Politics

I’m all for Elon Musk taking over Twitter and making the platform conducive to free speech again. I also have no doubt that Musk’s changes to the platform will be overwhelmingly positive. I’m still permanently suspended, by the way, and still waiting for that to get fixed.

That said, Musk’s plan to make verification part of a paid subscription to Twitter is a bad idea.

According to the Twitter app’s page on the Apple app store, the blue checkmark is now a perk of Twitter Blue — the platform’s $7.99/month subscription service.

“Get Twitter Blue for $7.99/month if you sign up now,” the page reads. “Blue checkmark: Power to the people: Your account will get a blue checkmark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”

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So, while it appears that you don’t need to subscribe to Twitter Blue to get the verification badge, you will get one if you want to pay Twitter a few bucks a month for the privilege.

Before being banned from Twitter, I tried multiple times to acquire the much-coveted “Verified” blue check. According to the platform, “The blue Verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be authentic, notable, and active” and “must represent or otherwise be associated with a prominently recognized individual or brand…”

I think that applies to me. While I may not be a “prominently recognized individual,” my outlet PJ Media is a recognized brand, and as a PJ Media columnist, verification on one of the top social media platforms would protect me from being impersonated on the platform. I’ve been impersonated before. Twenty years ago, when I was a fairly well-known blogger, someone pretended to be me and started posting ridiculous racist comments on liberal blogs. Thankfully, I was alerted to what was happening by one of my own readers, and I informed the owner of the left-wing blog what was happening. He saw the offending posts and agreed to remove them. That, more than anything, is why I wanted to be verified on Twitter.

Related: West Coast, Messed Coast™ Report: Twitter’s Black Friday

It all became a moot point in March after I was banned from the platform for saying that gender dysphoria is a mental illness. Since being banned from Twitter, I’m more actively using two free speech alternatives, GETTR and Truth Social. I am also verified on both platforms, which is nice. Kind of. One thing I quickly learned about both platforms is that pretty much anyone can get verified on them — despite no apparent justification for it.

Twitter’s restrictive verification requirements may have been somewhat discriminatory toward conservatives, but GETTR and Truth Social’s verification requirements are far too liberal by comparison. If anyone can get verified just by asking, then what’s the benefit of verification? A quick perusal of both platforms turns up verification badges on accounts that are not linked with a particular person, brand, website, or association where there’s an apparent public interest in the authenticity of the account. Yet the accounts are confirmed by the platform. This dilutes the integrity of the verification status.

I will never pay for the opportunity to be verified, and frankly, if other people can, verification loses all meaning.

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