Twitter’s Blue Check Apocalypse is upon us. Here’s what you need to know about Twitter’s blue tick

The blue check mark on Twitter has long had a special status. Only certain accounts – usually those of public figures whose identities have been confirmed – have been given the symbol.

Now that is changing.

Starting on Saturday, many Twitter accounts will lose the tick as a result of changes being made by Elon Musk, the owner of the social media company. Individual users must purchase a subscription to Twitter’s Blue service, which costs $8 per month, to get the badge. Companies that are not currently verified will be must pay $1,000 a month if they want a gold check that verifies their account.

The move, which will help Twitter monetize it by making certain features exclusive to subscribers, will affect a range of users on the platform. Here’s what you need to know.

For those of you who primarily use Twitter to follow celebrities and news sites, this policy change will affect what you see and read on the service.

For example, you may see fewer tweets from accounts you care about in your timeline as people who choose not to pay for Twitter Blue become less visible on the site.

It may become more difficult for most users to distinguish real people from fake accounts. For example, removing checkmarks from the accounts of celebrities who don’t want to pay for Blue can make it difficult to distinguish their accounts from impersonators.

Mr Musk has said that only posts from paid accounts with blue ticks will be visible on Twitter’s “For You” tab, the default timeline of tweets the platform shows you based on your interests. The only exception, later he said, will be posts from unauthenticated accounts you already follow that will continue to appear in your timeline.

All this means it’s likely to get harder to discover messages from accounts without the blue checkmarks. For example, if you follow a lot of sports news and an unauthenticated account tweets some sports-related news, you won’t see it in your timeline unless you already follow that account. In the past, you may have only found that content because it went viral.

One caveat to these likely changes is that Mr. Musk is not known for always following through on his public intentions. So parts of the tick policy may change as Twitter rolls it out.

That all depends on whether the account holder gets enough value from having a blue check to pay for it.

Celebrities and institutions can choose not to pay because they already have a large number of followers who will continue to see their posts.

The New York Times, which has nearly 55 million followers on Twitter, said Thursday it would not pay for the verified badge for its institutional accounts, including @New York times. The Times also told its journalists it would not reimburse them for a Twitter Blue subscription, except in rare cases where it was necessary for reporting.

But other types of Twitter users may choose to pay for the ticks. Those are some small businesses that use Twitter to market their services and want their content to reach a wider audience. In this scenario, paying for verification is essentially an advertising cost.

Twitter is going to make some exceptions regarding which companies are allowed to keep their ticks without paying. In a internal documentthe company said it would let the 10,000 most followed organizations and the top 500 advertisers who have already been verified keep their status.

Of social media companies such as Meta and Snap, Twitter is the smallest social network and the company continues to shrink in size and relevance.

Mr Musk has fired much of Twitter’s staff and left the company fewer than 2,000 employees, down from 7,500 when he took over in October. The site still has issues with bots posting spam and impostor accounts impersonating public figures. Security issues, malfunctions and bugs are piling up. And some influencers and journalists are migrating to other platforms, including MastodonLinkedin and Instagram.