Elon Musk took over Twitter last week and has swiftly moved to implement major changes at the company — but not without outcries from some of the platform’s users.
One of the most contentious changes is a revamp of Twitter’s verification process. Right now, around 400,000 Twitter users claim a blue check mark, according to Forbes. These are celebrities, influencers, or other public figures that are currently harboring the platform’s status symbol of authenticity for free.
Musk is suggesting that users start paying $8 a month for these blue checks under a revamped version of Twitter Blue, the company’s paid subscription tier that launched in July 2021.
Chief among Musk’s reasons for charging for verification is that it’s the “only way to defeat the bots & trolls,” according to a Musk quote via Bloomberg. Musk, of course, has said he has been concerned about the number of bots running rampant on Twitter since he first proposed his takeover back in April 2022.
Not everyone agrees however, that an amped-up version of Twitter Blue is the right way to combat fake or spam accounts.
British actor Robert Kazinsky, known for his role in the BBC series EastEnders and as Don in the Captain Marvel movie, posted a Twitter thread on Wednesday lamenting Musk’s proposed changes and sharing his own personal experiences about the dangers of unverified accounts.
“Years ago, before verified accounts were a thing, back when I was on Eastenders, I was contacted multiple times by parents of children who had been “conversing” with me online,” he tweeted. “11-15 year old children that had been talking with a fake me.”
Kazinsky said he “felt powerless” in stopping people from using his name and face to scam people. For him, verification became an important tool to push back against online scammers.
He added, “Verification is a public service, it is a good deed performed by companies who contribute very little good to the world in my opinion. We should be making easier clearer paths to verification for everyone, not making it harder. It is their responsibility, not a business model.”