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Friday, February 23, 2024

#BlueTick trends in Nigeria as Twitter withdraws free verification badges

The micro blogging site, Twitter, has removed en masse the blue tick on many accounts.

Before Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk bought the social media platform, accounts belonging to influential persons and professionals were verified free-of-charge after due process to prevent duplication and faking of a public figure’s social media account.

However, last December 13 and under the Elon Musk ownership, Twitter launched its updated verified subscription programme, which made Twitter accounts to have three different verification badges – gold, grey and blue, unlike the hitherto single colour verification badge of blue.

With the commercialization, if a user sees a blue tick and clicks on it, the label reads: “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”

The commercialized Twitter Blue tick is an opt-in, paid subscription that adds a blue badge to a user’s account and offers early access to select features such as Edit Tweet, among others.

Gradually since then, many Twitter accounts that had blue tick started displaying gold ticks. The different badges were launched to differentiate the types of accounts on Twitter – business, individual and government.

Gold check is designated for verified companies or official business accounts, while grey tick is for verified government accounts or accounts affiliated with the government and monitored by Twitter. The blue is for individuals.

The recent act of yanking-off of the legacy checks from accounts that had spotted them for years came on the heels of Musk’s decision to commercialize the platform and make it profitable.

As of Thursday, many influential figures, among them businessmen, athletes, music stars, actors, and even religious leaders, have lost their blue tick on the popular social media platform.

Those affected in Nigeria include music starts such as Davido, Wizkid and Burna Boy.

Politicians affected include the Turakin Adamawa and ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar; president-elect Bola Tinubu; Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi, among others.

Church leaders whose blue ticks have been removed include the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible church, Pastor W.F. Kumuyi; President, Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleman; and General Overseer & Founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, etc.

Also affected are Nigerian businessman and chairman of United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu; as are Pope Francis, entertainers Kim Kardashian and Beyonce; billionaire Bill Gates, former US president Donald Trump and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Paying for Twitter Blue may be a herculean task for many Nigerians as foreign exchange accessibility, following a downward review of benchmarks, may make it hard to pay the stipulated $8/month or $84 per year subscription fee.

In the interim, some Smart Alecs seem to be using the opportunity to launch verified Twitter accounts mimicking those of popular persons.

This is even as many affected persons have been reacting:

UBA Chairman Tony Elumelu said:

A CNN International Correspondent Larry Madowo also reacted:

Meanwhile, Twitter has warned that non-subscribers to the Twitter ‘blue tick’ will no longer be able to run adverts on the platform beginning today, Friday, April 21, 2023.

The announcement came after the removal of many blue ticks on many Twitter accounts yesterday.

In a notice sent to Twitter advertisers and titled, ‘Building a better Twitter through verification,’ the micro blogging site had warned:

“Starting April 21, your @account must have a verified checkmark or subscribe to either Twitter Blue or Verified Organizations to continue running ads on Twitter. Business accounts spending in excess of $1000 per month already have gold checks or will soon, and they’ll continue to enjoy access to advertising without interruption at this time.

“This change aligns with Twitter’s broader verification strategy: to elevate the quality of content on Twitter and enhance your experience as a user and advertiser. This approach also supports our ongoing efforts to reduce fraudulent accounts and bots. Subscribing to either of these services means you have been verified by Twitter as a real person and/or business.

“Amongst other features, you’ll have a more visible organic presence and a broader range of creation tools. We’re excited for you to get started and to benefit from a superior Twitter experience.”

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