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The Return of the Blue Check: X (Formerly Twitter) Reinstates Verification For Prominent Accounts

In a surprising move, X, formerly known as Twitter, has begun reinstating the iconic blue verification badge to select accounts with large followings. This development comes almost a year after these badges were removed from numerous influential accounts, marking a significant shift in the platform’s approach to verification.

X appears to be rolling out this change in response to an announcement made by platform owner Elon Musk in late March. Musk declared that accounts with over 2,500 verified subscriber followers would receive X Premium features for free, while those with over 5,000 verified subscriber followers would enjoy X Premium+ features. One of the key features included in these premium packages is the reinstatement of the blue check mark, a symbol synonymous with credibility and authenticity on social media platforms.

Initially introduced as a mark of authenticity, the blue badge’s significance has evolved drastically under Musk’s ownership of X. Following his takeover, verification became a paid feature for members of X Premium, a move that stirred controversy and criticism. However, this recent decision to restore verification to prominent accounts suggests a potential shift in X’s strategy, likely aimed at retaining influential users and attracting new ones.

“Some new recipients are already choosing to hide the check mark,” posted U.K. parliamentary candidate Edward Lucas. “I have turned off the spurious bluetick, which does nothing to help identity assurance and much to confuse it.”

While the return of the blue check mark has been met with amusement by some, others have expressed skepticism and reluctance. Some users who unexpectedly found themselves verified again rushed to clarify that they had not sought out or paid for the badge, fearing misinterpretation by their followers. This sentiment reflects the ongoing debate surrounding the value and purpose of verification in today’s social media landscape.

Critics argue that X’s handling of verification has contributed to confusion and mistrust among users. The platform’s decision to make verification a paid feature and its subsequent removal of badges from previously verified accounts have sparked debates about transparency and fairness.

“In a world where the celebrities and public figures refuse to pay for the check mark, then the verification loses its value,” said Karen North, a professor of digital social media at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “By restoring verification to famous and influential users, whether they like it or not, X increases the value of verification for those who pay for it.”

As X grapples with these challenges, competitors like Meta’s Threads have gained traction among users seeking alternatives. Meta’s recent experiment with providing payouts to creators for highly viewed Threads posts highlights the intensifying competition in the social media space.

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