X is removing ability to hide checkmarks for premium users

Last year, Elon Musk’s social network X (formerly known as Twitter) rolled out a feature for paid users to hide their blue checkmarks from others after the checks became primarily a paid feature. Now, the company is making another U-turn: It’s sending notifications to users warning that the feature will go away soon.

As with other decisions taken by X, there is no definite timeline as to when the switch will happen. More definite is that the move will add one more layer of confusion around what the blue checkmark actually means these days, since it is arriving swiftly on the heels of yet one more change: X expanding blue-check status to more non-paying users based on how many “blue check” followers they have themselves.

Last week, the company removed a section in its X Premium support page that described how paying users could hide their checkmarks. This week, it began to send notifications to Premium users spelling things out a bit more.

Before the days of Elon, a blue check on your handle was the ultimate Twitter humblebrag, conferred by Twitter itself based on the size or impact of your profile on social media or the wider world, to help distinguish accounts as genuine and not impersonations.

All that changed after Elon took over and turned the checks into a premium, paid feature — making the symbol something anyone could buy for a small fee. In other words, not really valuable as a status or verification symbol at all, and maybe even a little embarrassing.

Yet — even if people didn’t always want to admit that they were paying money to a company that had turned into such a mess under its new owner — there were other benefits to the premium tier such as editing features, the ability to publish longer posts and extra direct messaging features. Cue: Twitter/X offering the ability to hide the checkmarks.

Now those who had been not-proud users are speaking out.

The company more widely continues to grapple with major trust and safety issues on the platform — not just impersonators but misinformation, harassment and other abusive content. When Elon changed the blue checkmark feature into a revenue driver, he undermined the point of it in trying to combat some of those issues.

X has made a number of other moves that have confused what blue checkmarks actually mean when you see them on the site.

After switching to allowing only paying users to have checkmarks, some people still seemed to be retaining blue checks even when they weren’t paying Elon a penny. Later, the company more officially moved to reinstate the blue checkmark for very select top accounts.

Then, earlier this month, the social network started handing out blue checkmarks to influential users with more than 2,500 “verified” followers. The company also started offering its Premium subscription to these users and Premium+ subscription to users with more than 5,000 verified followers. Both operate on a kind of pyramid scheme, since “verified” becomes a large bucket of paid users, with some that are unpaid, none of which are clearly marked or explained.


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