If you’re active on Twitter, you might have noticed the, er, slightly chaotic energy on the site recently. The social media platform has been going through some major changes since its acquisition by Tesla billionaire Elon Musk in October 2022 for a cool $44 billion. Even if you’re not a tweeter, you’ll likely have heard about the mass firings and the controversies centring around the infamous “blue ticks”.
Luckily, we’ve summarised the whole drama in one handy post for you!
The drama began before Musk had signed on the dotted line, when he tried to back out of the deal by claiming Twitter hadn’t deleted enough spam accounts on the site. After the threat of a lawsuit, Musk changed his mind and the deal was closed at the end of October 2022, with Twitter made private and taken under parent company X Corp.
It was almost immediately that employees (including high-level executives) started being fired by email, while others started resigning. Over the next few months, up to 80% of contract employees were fired without notice, and the rest were given an ultimatum to work “hardcore hours” or be fired, with some reportedly choosing the latter.
In November 22, Twitter launched a new $8 subscription service called Twitter Blue which allowed any user access to the coveted ‘blue tick’, Twitter’s version of a verified account. Previously only accessible to celebrities and public figures, this opened the ability for anyone with a spare $8 to become an ‘official’ account.
Obviously, this led to lots of hijinks and mayhem, with many famous people falling victim to some minor identity fraud when verified accounts started changing their names and profile photos to parody their favourite (or least favourite!) celebs.
Elon Musk quickly announced that impersonators would be suspended from the site and introduced a second tick called the ‘official’ badge. These however were quickly retired and swapped back to ‘legacy’ badges, similar to the original blue ticks.
Fast forward a few months to April 2023, and Twitter has decided to remove legacy badges and instead offer blue ticks only to those who sign up for Twitter Blue, prompting the same hijinks and mayhem as November, this time with actual celebrities and businesses losing their verified status.
This understandably prompted a lot of backlash due to the concern that allowing anyone to pay for verification leaves the platform even more vulnerable to impersonation and misinformation than before. Celebrities started leaving in their droves, while some remained having been “gifted” a Twitter Blue subscription by Musk. This caused some confusion, and many celebrities took to the platform to distance themselves from the perceived stigma and confirm that they had not, in fact, paid for the service.
Well, there’s actually been quite a few small changes and some rumours of even bigger ones. But most notably, as of April 21st, 2023, organisations are now required to have a ‘verified checkmark’ to advertise on the site, through either Twitter Blue or Verified Organisations – a premium subscription where you can add affiliate accounts and receive prioritised support.
The Twitter of the future
Well, based on the drama of the last 12 months, it’s quite difficult to say what Twitter will look like this time next year. For now, we’ll say to hold tight as features seem to be changing fast. We’ll just have to grab the popcorn and wait and see what happens next…