If the early signs are any indication, Twitter’s plan to force organisations to pay for “verification” on the platform is not going well. With the social media platform’s legacy scheme in tatters, the meaning of the word is being stretched beyond its limits.
But Twitter is ploughing ahead, regardless. Under the new regime verified organisations will be able to bestow gold badges on their affiliates, for a price, giving them access to the features such as the ability to edit tweets or post lengthy ones.
The one thing lacking? A compelling reason for any organisation to pay almost €1,000 a month for a gold badge.
Already, media organisations have begun clarifying their stance on the issue. The New York Times won’t pay for “check mark status”, it reportedly said, not even dignifying the latest Elon Musk cash-grab by calling it verification. Nor will they reimburse staff who pay for Twitter Blue to keep their blue badge. Neither will the Washington Post, nor the LA Times, Buzzfeed or Politico, according to CNN reporter Oliver Darcy who, ironically, published the responses on Twitter.
Financially, it doesn’t make sense. It is far more expensive than Twitter Blue, for example, which offers the same features. More importantly, the once-coveted blue tick no longer means a real person with a verified identity is behind an account – although some would dispute it ever did – and now only signifies the account has €11 or so to pay for Twitter Blue each month.
Likewise, the gold badge will only mean that someone in the organisation has €950 a month to spend on digital fancy dress. And that is before you take into account the €50 per “affiliate” that Twitter wants them to pay so companies can show who is officially linked to them. All for the privilege of creating content that has, in reality, delivered little return for media organisations.
The only reason the check marks were created was to stop impersonation of high-profile accounts, and Twitter Blue has already been found wanting in that regard. As a way to plug a gaping financial hole, Musk’s efforts so far have been fairly lacklustre, and may succeed in having the opposite effect – driving more money away from the platform as the newly-badged accounts continue to contribute to a less appealing platform for users and advertisers alike.