Calling it now: Elon Musk’s latest Twitter
stunt innovation will be a complete disaster for reporters.
Pretty soon, previously verified Twitter accounts will lose their checkmarks unless they start paying for it. The website has announced that it will “begin winding down [its] legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks” on April 1st. It was never a secret that the company intended to do so. Shortly after Twitter Blue first launched in November 2022, company chief Elon Musk said that “far too many corrupt legacy Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks exist” and that the company is removing them in the coming months.
While leaving open the door for the possibility this is some elaborate April Fool’s joke of Musk’s … this is going to be a mess.
There are two things media outlets should do if this comes to pass:
1. Pay for Twitter Blue for every employee in order to keep the checkmark (mildly important) and preserve the ability to use two-factor authentication (critically important).
2. Get every employee to stop tweeting.
The latter will likely be impossible to pull off for myriad reasons. And most outlets will be too cheap or stubborn or clueless to do the former. So we are likely headed to a world where real reporters have no checkmark and are highly susceptible to being hacked and fake reporters have checkmarks. I am sure this will go very well with no issues!
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.