Check no more: How Filipinos are taking Twitter’s removal of legacy badges

April 21, 2023 - 11:28 AM
Elon Musk's twitter account is seen on a smartphone in front of the Twitter logo in this photo illustration taken, April 15, 2022. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Several legacy-verified Filipino personalities lost their check marks on Twitter as the short-message social media platform began its purge of accounts not under its subscription service.

Twitter previously announced that it would remove the once-elusive verification badge of accounts that earned its blue check mark prior to the takeover of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Musk had said that the “final date” would be on April 20 (April 21 in Philippine time), a date with special resonance to him who loves memes and jokes, including those referencing “4/20” which is considered the unofficial day for toking up.

By then, those who wanted to earn a check mark would have to subscribe to Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service where users would enjoy a badge and “enhanced and complementary” features of the platform such as tweet editing and long-form writing.

The move has prompted fears that users will have one less tool to distinguish legitimate sources from spoofs or impersonators, who can easily get a verification badge through the subscription.

Filipino personalities who lost their verification badge immediately took to the platform to air their sentiments about the controversial initiative.

“My blue check mark is gone! Bravo, finally. ‘Di kita bibigyan ng pera, Ilong. ‘Wag na tayo maging notable and verified, gusto ko na lang makipagbardagulan, charot, hehe,” video producer and former journalist Wena Cos tweeted. “Ilong” is a play on Musk’s first name.

“Just to get the check mark again [on] Twitter, I have to pay Php 447.33 monthly. Maraming banana cue na iyan,” Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen wrote, referring to the locally converted rate of $8 US dollars, Twitter Blue’s monthly rate for its subscribers.

“Can we get our Twitter Blue badge back, @verified @Twitter @elonmusk?” ABS-CBN employee Eric John Salut wrote.

“Bye, legacy check mark. Lol, tnx [thanks] @Twitter @elonmusk,” actor and online personality Kerwin King tweeted with a heart hands emoji.

“I just lost my blue verification badge. (zany face emoji) What now, @Twitter? Are we supposed to pay for it?” broadcast journalist Karen Davila wrote.

“I am not verified anymore on Twitter. (blue heart emoji) Well, I’m not alone. (grinning-with-sweat emoji) Good morning, world!” actress Ruffa Gutierrez tweeted, sharing some screengrabs of other personalities without the blue badge.

Other badgeless Twitter users also shared their reactions.

“Most followed Pinoy celebrities lost their verified blue check! Grabe ka, @twitter. Tsk! [Kakaloka]!!!@annecurtissmith @vicegandako @143redangel @bernardokath,” a Filipino wrote, tagging the accounts of hosts Anne Curtis-Smith and Vice Ganda and actors Angel Locsin and Kathryn Bernardo.

Others, meanwhile, quipped that having no badge “is the new Twitter blue checks.”

“Gone are the days when verified accounts are only for those who are notable and authentic accounts of people relevant in their field. Now, everyone can get the blue check simply by purchasing it. Purely Twitter capitalism,” former Marilao municipal councilor candidate Guam Partosa tweeted.

Under Twitter’s previous leadership, accounts were verified under a process that vets whether they are eligible for the blue check mark.

Users must request verification and can only be approved if their accounts are “authentic, notable, and active.”

They must also be a government figure or entity, entertainer, athlete, company, activist, content creator, news organization, or journalist.

Spam or parody accounts would not be approved, as well as Twitter users who have violated policies related to hateful comments, harassment, or harmful activity.

Their blue badge would disappear if they have done any of the following: Violate the platform’s policies, change their username, are not active, or if their account is misleading.