Twitter's subscription service has a new feature for users who don't want the world to know they're giving $8 a month to Elon Musk: hiding the checkmark.
"As a subscriber, you can choose to hide your checkmark on your account," says a newly updated page describing the subscription service formerly known as Twitter Blue. The service was renamed "X Blue" to match Musk's rebranding of Twitter as X.
Even if you choose to hide that checkmark you bought, there's no guarantee other users won't figure out that you're a subscriber. It just won't be quite as obvious.
"The checkmark will be hidden on your profile and posts," the company says. "The checkmark may still appear in some places and some features could still reveal you have an active subscription. Some features may not be available while your checkmark is hidden."
Some of the limits could be lifted eventually as the page says, "We will continue to evolve this feature to make it better for you." The option to hide the blue checkmark is in the "Profile customization" section of a user's account settings.
Using X Blue perks reveals subscription status
It may never be possible to completely hide one's status as a subscriber unless you avoid using certain X Blue features. The subscription lets users make posts of up to 25,000 characters instead of the typical limit of 280. It also lets you upload longer videos, use bolding and italics in text, use an NFT as a profile picture, and edit posts for up to one hour after they're posted. Using any of those features might tip off others that you're an X Blue subscriber.
Before Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, the blue checkmark signified that an account was deemed to be notable and authentic. Twitter's verification system made it harder to impersonate real people or organizations.
Musk didn't like that system, so he turned checkmarks into a perk for paying subscribers and removed checkmarks from most accounts verified under the old system. The change inspired a meme, "This MF paid for Twitter."
Having a checkmark doesn't automatically mean that you paid for a subscription. Accounts with over 1 million followers generally have checkmarks even if the user hasn't paid. But it appears that you need to pay the monthly fee to remove the checkmark, as X describes it as an option for subscribers.
Musk “Verified since 3000 BCE”
When Musk first rolled out paid checkmarks, you could see whether someone paid simply by clicking the checkmark on their account. That would reveal a message that said either, "This account is verified because it's subscribed to Twitter Blue," or "This account is verified because it's notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category."
Now, clicking a checkmark doesn't show either of those messages. The current message on a checkmarked account says, "This account is verified."
But the pop-up includes the date of verification—"Verified since December 2009" for Donald Trump's account, for example—which can indicate whether a user got a checkmark before or after Musk changed the system.
Musk's account has a special designation: It says, "This account is verified because it's an affiliate of @X on X," and "Verified since 3000 BCE."