Twitter‘s decision to give a free pass to its top 10,000 organizations by follower count and the 500 advertisers who spend the most on its platform is a move that’s likely to keep many of the major players’ checkmarks intact. According to a report from The New York Times, these companies will not have to pay $1,000 a month [with full pricing structure] to retain their verified status and checkmarks.
The move comes at a time when Twitter is preparing to make significant changes to the verification process. The company plans to wind down its legacy verified program in April and introduce a new verification process, Twitter Verification for Organizations, which allows companies to pay $1,000 a month [with a full pricing structure for all countries] to retain their verification and to identify specific accounts as “affiliated.”
While the cost of the Verification for Organizations package may seem steep, the offer of at least part of it for free to advertisers and organizations with many followers is a relief. Many people who use Twitter as a source of information need to know that the information comes from a verified account, and the decision to offer free verification could help maintain the integrity of the platform.
The free verification could also be seen as an olive branch to advertisers whose relationship with Twitter has been strained lately. The platform’s ad revenue has reportedly dropped significantly since Elon Musk’s takeover, and some major advertising firms have warned their clients to be wary of it. For many advertisers, a $1,000 monthly bill could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but the offer of free verification could prevent them from making that decision.
However, the move could also create challenges for new companies trying to build an audience on the platform. They may find it harder to compete with verified brands or to pay $1,000 a month to obtain a checkmark.
Impersonation is a significant challenge on Twitter, and the platform has introduced some safeguards to prevent it. If a user changes their profile picture, display name, or @ handle, they temporarily lose their checkmark until Twitter reviews their profile to ensure they are not breaking its rules against impersonation.
As Twitter prepares to take away the “legacy” checkmarks of people and institutions, impersonators and other bad actors are likely to test those safety systems. While many well-known organizations may not need to worry about impersonation, smaller companies may face the risk of imposters creating accounts that look more official than the real one.