Twitter said on Saturday that its Twitter Blue subscription service will resume on Monday, giving subscribers the controversial "blue badge" but this time with a special verification process aimed at preventing impersonation on the site. Twitter estimates that Checkmark and other features will cost $8 per month if users sign up online and $11 per month if they sign up on iOS.
"Upon signing up, you will get tweet editing, 1080p video download, player mode, and a blue badge (after your account is verified)," the company tweeted. It's not clear what this account verification entails, though an image included in the thread mentions the need for a "verified phone number."
New Twitter owner Elon Musk has been busy ticking boxes since taking office. Last month, the company introduced its $8 per month Twitter Blue subscription, which blurs the line between verified and paid accounts. This led to a number of people impersonating celebrities and companies, which caused confusion and prompted Twitter to suspend Twitter Blue registrations.
"As one of our new anti-plagiarism steps, we've added a verification step before an account is blue-flagged," said Esther Crawford, Twitter product manager, on Saturday. When asked if the fact that a Twitter user submitted a blue badge means they have been verified, Crawford replied, "In this update, we don't have identity verification."
Before Musk came up with the idea of merging the blue badge with the Twitter Blue subscription service, the verification process traditionally involved things like showing government-issued ID and proof that you were a "high-ranking person." Musk's check-cashing deal has led critics to argue that the blue tick symbol has become meaningless.
In late November, Musk tweeted a plan that would give companies a gold badge and government agencies a gray one. “Blue is for individuals (celebrities or otherwise) and all verified accounts will be manually verified before verification is enabled,” Musk tweeted at the time, adding details that would be revealed later. He also said that people could have an optional, smaller logo to show that they are "joining an organization if approved by that organization".
On Saturday, Twitter reported that a "gold and gray" verification plan would go into effect for businesses and the government. It also states that Twitter Blue followers "can change their photo, display name, or profile photo, but if they do, they will temporarily lose their blue badge until their account is verified." In the latest impersonation craze, some Twitter users have changed their aliases to look like others.
Twitter did not respond to an email on Saturday requesting more information about the verification process.
Twitter also said on Saturday that blue Twitter followers will "rank first in replies, mentions and searches," see more ads and be able to post longer videos.
Twitter Blue subscribers who previously subscribed for $8 per month via iOS will be notified of the new iOS price of $11 per month and can then subscribe online for $8. Crawford. Last month, Musk complained about the fees Apple charges developers and companies for customer purchases through the iOS App Store.
The iOS and web versions will offer the same functionality, Crawford said, and Android users will be able to shop online and use Twitter Blue on their devices.