Twitter to Exempt Top 500 Advertisers from Paying Verification Fees, Says Document

Twitter plans to charge organizations $1,000 USD per month for a blue “Verified” checkmark, but an internal document seen by The New York Times indicates that the company’s top 500 advertising partners and the 10,000 most-followed organizations will be verified for free.

Twitter also plans to charge organizations $1,000 a month to be verified, but will make exceptions for its top 500 advertisers and for the 10,000 most-followed organizations that have been previously verified, according to an internal document seen by The Times. All accounts that purchase check marks will be reviewed to make sure they are not impersonating someone, according to the document.

This comes after Twitter last week announced plans to start removing legacy verification checkmarks starting Saturday, April 1.

The only way to get verified on Twitter now is the $8 USD ($10 CAD) per month Twitter Blue subscription for individuals, and a $1,000 USD per month subscription for organizations — unless you’re one of Twitter’s top 500 advertisers or among the 10,000 most-followed organizations that have previously been verified.

In the same report, The New York Times also noted that Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk tried to meet with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s chair, Lina Khan, as the regulator expanded its investigation into the social media company’s privacy and data practices.

Musk attempted to set up the meeting late last year, one of the publication’s sources said. However, he was ultimately refused.

In a January 27 letter declining to meet with Musk, Khan noted that the company was under investigation and was delaying handing over documents requested by the FTC and putting off depositions with witnesses including Musk. She said she was “troubled by Twitter’s delays and the obstacles that these delays are creating for the F.T.C.’s investigation.”

“I recommend that Twitter appropriately prioritize its legal obligations to provide the requested information,” Khan continued. “Once Twitter has fully complied with all F.T.C. requests, I will be happy to consider scheduling a meeting with Mr. Musk.”

The FTC is investigating Twitter to determine whether the company has the resources required to protect its users’ privacy and comply with a 2011 settlement with the FTC after Musk bought the company last year and proceeded to cut the majority of its workforce.

Twitter’s former security chief, Peiter Zatko, alleged in a whistleblower complaint made public last year that the company failed to comply with its 2011 settlement with the FTC. This led to the FTC probing the company, and Musk at one point tried using the whistleblower’s allegations as cause to back out of the Twitter deal.

Starting April 15, Twitter’s For You page will exclusively recommend content from verified accounts.