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Twitter to Remove Legacy Blue Check Marks Starting April 1

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Twitter Inc. said it would start taking away legacy blue check marks on April 1 for users whose accounts were verified before Elon Musk took over the platform.

Mr. Musk has said he wanted to end the legacy verifications since he bought Twitter in October. He has repeatedly criticized the way Twitter verified accounts before he took over the company.

Twitter verified accounts for free under its former leadership that it deemed notable and trustworthy, including those belonging to politicians, journalists, entertainers and others. The company placed a blue check next to those users’ names, allowing them to stand out in interactions on the platform.

Legacy blue check marks have coexisted on the platform since November with accounts verified through Twitter Blue, a subscription service Mr. Musk has championed. Any user can pay as little as $7 a month to be verified through Twitter Blue and receive a blue check mark, along with other perks. The company said Thursday that Twitter Blue is now available worldwide after a monthslong rollout that sometimes hit snags.

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Twitter said Thursday that users with legacy verifications can pay for a Twitter Blue subscription to keep their check marks. Organizations, including businesses, nonprofits and government agencies, can pay at least $1,000 a month to verify their accounts. Associated accounts will receive a so-called affiliate badge next to their check marks, Twitter said. 

Mr. Musk said on Friday that users affiliated with a verified organization would automatically be verified.

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Twitter didn’t immediately return a request for comment about how the legacy check marks will be phased out starting on April Fools’ Day. The company recently set up an automatic reply for its press team, responding to any emailed inquiry with a poop emoji. Mr. Musk has tweeted about changes at Twitter and other topics, such as buying the English soccer team Manchester United, that haven’t happened or that he later called a joke.

Twitter in recent months rolled out a new check mark system for certain accounts, giving companies a gold check mark and government accounts a gray check mark. In November, Mr. Musk described the way Twitter used to verify accounts as a “lords & peasants system.” In December, he tweeted, “The way in which they were given out was corrupt and nonsensical.”

The latest policy shifts have muddled some interactions on the platform. Thousands of individual users are now verified and their responses are prioritized in conversations. Twitter temporarily stopped paid check marks in November because people were using their verifications to impersonate other users.

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Meta Platforms Inc. META 0.85%increase; green up pointing triangle announced a similar change last week to its verification systems on Facebook and Instagram, which it owns. The company said adults in the U.S. can pay to be verified and receive a blue check mark for as little as $11.99 a month.

Tech companies like Twitter and Meta have laid off thousands of employees and cut costs in recent months as they contend with difficult economic conditions. In an effort to make Twitter profitable, Mr. Musk laid off many Twitter employees and introduced a paid subscription service. He has also limited two-factor authentication by text to paid subscribers. Restricting the cybersecurity measure is expected to save the company money. 

He said in November that Twitter was losing more than $4 million a day, around the time many large advertisers paused spending on the platform.

He has since said he expects Twitter to be roughly cash-flow break-even this year.

For now, legacy verified accounts display a message when their check marks are clicked on, saying, “This is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable.” Mr. Musk has said he chose that wording. His account showed that message on Friday.

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