• X users can now hide their blue check marks, but other users may still be able to tell if they have a subscription.
• The subscription-based system was implemented by Elon Musk after he purchased the company, and it issues a check mark once a user pays for the service and attaches a phone number.
• Preprint research from Princeton found that accounts with Blue subscriptions are disproportionately made up of those posting conservative political content, exhibiting positive views about Elon Musk, and promoting cryptocurrencies.
X Users Can Now Hide Their Blue Check Marks
Twitter Help recently updated an article warning X (formerly Twitter) subscribers that they now have the option to hide their blue check marks. However, other users may still be able to tell if they have an active subscription. This change was implemented by owner Elon Musk upon his purchase of X (then Twitter) as part of the new “Blue” subscription service which requires users to pay for the service and attach a phone number in order to receive the badge.
Subscribers Disproportionately Post Conservative Political Content
Preprint research from Princeton published in June 2023 found that accounts with Blue subscriptions are disproportionately made up of those posting conservative political content, exhibiting positive views about Elon Musk, and promoting cryptocurrencies. This has caused controversy among X users who obtained their badge under good intentions rather than engagement in these activities.
Elon Musk’s Purchase Of X
When owner Elon Musk purchased X (then Twitter), one of his first moves was to reconfigure its long-standing verification system – previously the service issued check marks to account holders considered noteworthy or at risk of identity impersonation such as celebrities, politicians and journalists. Upon implementing his new “Blue” subscription service, all existing verifications were cleared off the slate and replaced by this paywall based system.
Power To The People
Musk had previously tweeted: “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month”. Despite this sentiment however it appears many subscribers feel that rather than distributing power amongst its users – instead this move is consolidating power back into corporate hands by requiring payment for access rights that were previously offered free of charge through verification badges being awarded on merit alone.
The introduction of this toggle feature offers some transparency around user’s choice on whether or not they want their subscriber status known or not – however there is still considerable ambiguity over how exactly other users will detect if someone has an active subscription or not despite having hidden their badge from view.