Issue: Twitter verification: it wasn’t broken, why “fix” it?


Collegian Editorial Board

This past weekend has been quite the ride for Twitter users after Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, Inc., bought the social media platform. Musk has already made several changes after taking ownership, like firing many employees, and has promised several others.

One such promise is making the Twitter verification available to anyone who wants it – for only $8 a month.

Previously, the famous blue check mark was something a person had to apply for to show that an account was authentic, and the steps to verify it included some proof of affiliation with an industry like entertainment, news, politics, etc. Most average people can’t get verification because of this. Nike and ABC News’s Twitter accounts are easily verified. Your neighbor Steve’s? Not so much.

The removal of this process has left a lot of Twitter users wondering what this would mean for verified accounts and the level of trust that comes with that.

Verification through due process is important to Twitter because it makes it harder for parody accounts to completely impersonate someone. Musk has said that Twitter will have stricter guidelines for parody accounts using the subscription-based verification method like mandating that “parody” be somewhere in the Twitter handle, but this doesn’t really guarantee that accounts won’t slip through. Or that Musk won’t just only ban the accounts parodying him.

He’s also said that making the blue check subscription-based will “democratize journalism and empower the voice of the people,” but what does that mean? Being verified does not automatically make you a more trustworthy source of news through the sheer virtue of having a check mark. A journalist that has spent months researching inflation and your cousin who still thinks Biden is in direct control of gas prices do not have the same level of expertise, even if they are both verified.

Obviously there are many unknowns right now about what this might mean for the future of Twitter. But charging people to be verified won’t really bring about equality on the site: it’s just going to make people pay for a system that will quickly become obsolete.


The Collegian Editorial Board meets weekly and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.