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X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, has warned companies on the site that failure to buy more than $1,000 in ads could result in losing their “verification” badges, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. Since Elon Musk bought the website in October 2022, and made it possible for anyone to purchase a badge at $8 per month, this check-mark system has been a source of controversy.
The removal of a yellow check mark, which were handed out free under Musk to some of the biggest brands on the platform after significant issues arose, will apparently happen to any company that hasn’t spent at least $1,000 on ads over the past month or at least $6,000 in the preceding 180 days, according to the Journal. According to reports, the checkmarks will disappear on August 7.
Twitter’s verification system was started back in 2009 after baseball legend Tony La Russa filed a lawsuit against the company because he was upset about an impersonator account. Having a verified check mark meant that a user’s identity had been verified by Twitter and it didn’t previously cost anything to obtain.
Musk’s purchase of the site wiped out all that. Musk stripped most “legacy” check marks away by April, though he did seem to give them back to users who didn’t want them in the first place. Comedy account Dril is just one example of a user who’s been given the digital dunce camp repeatedly, but is constantly changing his user name in an effort to make it go away.
Today, anyone can buy a blue “verification” badge on Twitter for $8 per month, though a gold verification badge used for companies and media organizations reportedly costs $1,000.
Twitter, or X as Musk recently rebranded the site, still derives the majority of its revenue from advertising, though the billionaire recently admitted it’s down about 50% since he purchased the company. With X, Musk hopes to reinvent the site, making it the “everything app,” that can handle things like payments. Many people have compared Musk’s plans to China’s WeChat, which is a messaging platform that also allows payments.
Twitter responded to emailed questions on Tuesday evening with an automated response that insisted the company would get back to me “soon.” I’ll update this article if I hear back.