Twitter scraps legacy blue checks - here’s how to tell who's real and who's fake

Pile of Twitter Blue Ticks on fire
(Image credit: pnm-stock / Shutterstock)

Twitter has begun the process of removing legacy blue checkmarks from individual accounts that were not paying the $8-a-month fee on Thursday April 20, leading to mass confusion on the site as people grapple with which accounts were real and which were fake. 

The legacy blue checkmarks were put in place for users under a system to verify celebrities, journalists and politicians who had to prove their identity to Twitter. This way users would always be sure they were following authentic profiles and help separate parody accounts from actual ones. 

So, notable figures like The Rock, Ben Stiller, Bill Gates and even the Pope have been stripped of their checkmarks at the time of reporting, though interestingly LeBron James, Stephen King and Ice-T retain the (once) coveted blue tick. Elon Musk revealed he is personally paying for the Twitter Blue subscriptions of some celebrities, which is odd as it is contradictory to his strategy.

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James and King stated that they were not paying for a subscription when Musk revealed he was paying for a few himself, though it doesn’t seem like these celebrities are too eager to have his support.

So, who’s who?

With the new paid-for system, blue checks don’t mean what they used to anymore. Now the verified badge doesn’t guarantee that the person is who they claim to be, just that they pay for a subscription and they’ve used a phone number for authentication.

To meet the criteria for the blue tick, accounts will only have the badge displayed on their profile if the account has been active in the past 30 days (and must be older than 30 days), and has a name and a profile photo. Twitter also clarifies it will not put verification badges on accounts that have recently changed profile photos, display or usernames.

So, what does this mean for you? The quickest way to figure out if an account is real or not is by checking how long the account has been on Twitter. If you look at the TechRadar account, which has also lost the blue badge (RIP), you can see that our account has been on Twitter since 2008, which tracks. Follower count is also a very good indicator, but it’s best to look at the ‘joined’ date first as a lot of parody or fan accounts can quickly amass huge followings.

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If you go to Beyonce’s Twitter account, you can tell it’s the real deal as it shows the account has been on Twitter since 2009 and has 15.5 million followers. Again, that sounds about right for the always-iconic star.

Rio de Janeiro-Brazil 18 october of 2011 show of BEYONCE, Hsbc arena

(Image credit: A.RICARDO)

If you want to be super sure you can cross-reference accounts. So, if you want to follow the official TechRadar Twitter (which you absolutely should!) you can hop onto the site and click the social media profile of your choice, and you’ll definitely get to the official account.

Now that we’ve lost the legacy blue checks you’ll have to be a lot more careful of not just who you follow, but of what you read as well. A lot more effort will have to be put in to ensure you’re getting the right information and not being duped by fake or parody accounts. This would not be necessary if Musk wasn’t trying to shove his ridiculous subscription policy in our faces.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison.

Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place.

Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).