With Twitter allowing users to verify their accounts for a monthly fee, the number of accounts with a blue checkmark — previously associated with prominent figures — has flooded the social media platform. A browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari aims to bring back the balance by revealing the accounts that have paid $8 for subscribing to Twitter Blue.
Under the direction of Elon Musk, Twitter rolled out the “Twitter Blue” subscription to discourage spam bots and fake accounts on the platform. However, when the service was initially launched in November 2022, trolls took it as an opportunity to verify parody accounts and propagate fake information.
While a subsequent Know Your Customer requirement stifled the account verification of suspicious accounts, the number of verified accounts on Twitter skyrocketed, reintroducing user doubt. A browser extension named “Eight Dollars” allows users to spot the difference between actual verified accounts and Twitter Blue users.
The extension shows how each account gained its verification badge. For users that paid for the Twitter Blue subscription, the extension will display a “paid” text right next to the blue checkmark. For the rest, it will simply show “verified.“
The above screenshot shows an example of how an account parodying Elon Musk paid for verification. As a result, the extension helps identify scam accounts.
Moreover, Twitter users supported the software extension as it effectively reinstates transparency across the social media platform, as evidenced by the screenshot of the reviews above.
The need for such an extension arose after Twitter changed how it displayed information related to an account's verification process. In the sections marked 'A' and 'B' in the above image, it can be seen that Twitter used to clearly mention whether or not an account has paid for being verified on the platform.
However, as shown in section 'C,' this information was later changed to ensure there was no way of knowing who subscribed to the Twitter Blue service on public demand.
Meanwhile, Musk, and more than 2,600 tech industry leaders and researchers signed an open letter calling for a halt to artificial intelligence development.
The letter split opinions, with many notable entrepreneurs opposing it.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong believes that every technology poses a certain amount of danger, and the goal should be to keep moving forward.