Overview: If you’ve heard the buzz about the changes to Twitter’s badge system, you may be wondering what all this checkmark talk means for you as an individual or the owner of a brand. In this blog post, we’re breaking down the new system for you. Check it out!
Without a doubt, Twitter is among the most significant social media platforms in the world. Estimates vary depending on the source, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 million people and organizations use the platform, from pop culture fans to fast food brands to heads of state. Given its pervasiveness and influence, it’s no surprise that it’s considered a big deal when Twitter makes major changes to its policies.
And indeed, Twitter has changed a lot since it was acquired by Elon Musk in October 2022. That includes a series of changes to the system of applying Twitter badges to accounts, which generally come in the form of checkmarks that appear next to an account’s display name.
The History of Verified Twitter Blue Checkmark Accounts
For over a decade, a blue checkmark has been the standard indication of a “verified” Twitter account. The blue checks were originally introduced in 2009. The purpose of the checkmarks was to provide Twitter users with a means of determining whether or not a Twitter account purporting to be owned by a celebrity or notable company was actually owned by that person or entity.
Actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, and other public figures would apply for Twitter verification, and — as long as their account was deemed “active, notable, and authentic” — they would receive a blue check to distinguish their official Twitter accounts from parody accounts or impersonators.
In recent months, Twitter has begun the process of replacing this system with a new one — notably introducing Twitter Blue as a method for users to pay for a blue checkmark. At the beginning of this month, Twitter announced that “legacy” verified accounts would soon lose their checkmarks if they are not members of Twitter Blue. In other words, anyone who was previously verified as “active, notable, and authentic” will need to pay to hold onto their blue check. In April 2023, blue checkmarks started disappearing from legacy verified accounts.
So what’s the current status of Twitter badges? And what about those other checkmark colors? Read on for the full explanation!
What Does It Mean When a Twitter Account Has a Blue Checkmark?
Under the new policy, a blue checkmark now indicates that the user subscribes to Twitter Blue. Twitter Blue is a paid subscription service that costs $8 per month or $84 per year. Twitter Blue subscriptions are available to any Twitter accounts more than 30 days old.
Among the notable features included with a Twitter Blue subscription are:
the ability to edit tweets within a limited timeframe
the option to change the way the Twitter app icon appears on the user’s smartphone menu
access to new themes
the ability to post longer tweets (up to 4,000 characters!)
the ability to post longer videos (up to 60 minutes long or 2GB when using the Twitter website)
When you register for Twitter Blue, the Twitter team will review your account for eligibility before granting you access to the additional features.
Note: As of this writing, Twitter users have noticed that legacy verified accounts have retained their blue checks even though we have passed the date when Twitter stated they would be discontinued. At the present time, it is not immediately clear when viewing any given profile whether it has a blue check because it’s a paid member of Twitter Blue or a legacy verified account. However, Twitter is reportedly continuing with the process of removing blue checks from non-subscriber accounts.
>> Related Reading: Elon Musk’s Twitter Updates Verified User Descriptions
What Does It Mean When a Twitter Account Has a Gold Checkmark?
A gold checkmark appears on profiles of Twitter accounts that are designated as official business accounts. You’ll see these gold checkmarks on the accounts of major companies like Coca-Cola, Disney, and the NBA. Official business accounts also have square profile pictures rather than round ones.
Here’s where one of the most significant policy changes comes in: Under the recently announced Twitter badge updates, a business is required to pay $1,000 per month to retain its gold check.
>> Related Reading: Twitter to charge businesses $1,000 per month to keep gold verified checks
What Does It Mean When a Twitter Account Has a Grey Checkmark?
A grey checkmark (or “gray checkmark,” if you prefer) indicates that a Twitter account has been verified as belonging to a government or unilateral organization, such as FEMA or the National Weather Service. Verified accounts belonging to active heads of state, including senators and members of Congress, also have grey checks. A paid subscription is not required for a grey check.
>> Related: About Profile Labels and Checks on Twitter
What Does All This Mean for My Twitter Experience?
If you’re an individual Twitter user, and you decide not to spend the $8 per month on a Twitter Blue subscription, the new system may not affect you much at all. But as a general rule, you should be vigilant about engaging with other accounts.
If you see a tweet that appears to be from a business or a news organization, take a moment to review the status of the account before retweeting: Is it an official verified account with a gold check? Or is it the work of a Twitter Blue user attempting to impersonate a legitimate organization?
If you do opt to subscribe to Twitter Blue, ensure that you’re making the most of the available features. You can read more about the program on Twitter’s website.
If you’re the owner of a business, and you believe your business is significant enough for a verified business gold check — and that it would be worth the $1,000 monthly cost to have one — you can consider applying to be a verified organization. You can do that at this link.
Changes to any online platform as widely used as Twitter are bound to bring lots of questions. We hope we’ve answered some of yours in this blog post. If it helps, just remember the basics:
Blue checks = Twitter Blue = $8/month, available to anyone pending approval by Twitter
Gold checks = verified business accounts = $1,000/month, available to businesses pending approval by Twitter
Grey checks = government and unilateral entities = no cost, accounts must be verified by Twitter
If you’re still curious about how to build an effective online presence — on Twitter, on other social media platforms, or via a well-designed website — we’d love to hear from you.
At MyUnlimitedWP, we’re both digital marketing experts and WordPress website experts. Drop us a line today and let us know how we can help you convey your brand’s message to the world!