On Sunday April 9th, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua had his Twitter verification badge revoked, leaving some of his 550,000 followers concerned. Some expressed concern about the authenticity of his account without the badge, while others saw the situation as an opportunity to make jokes about the government's financial status. Despite the loss of the badge, Gachagua continued to post on his Twitter account, wishing Kenyans a happy Easter.
The removal of Gachagua's verification badge is a result of Twitter's recent decision to charge individuals interested in obtaining the badge. This move was initially announced in October 2022, with Elon Musk hinting at turning the verification feature into a subscription service where individuals would have to pay KES 1,060 per month to maintain their blue tick. Verified accounts were given 90 days to move to Twitter Blue or risk losing their verification badge.
Twitter employees were given a deadline of November 7th to move forward with this new subscription plan or leave. The recent launch of Twitter Blue and its decision to charge users for the verification badge have been met with mixed reactions. While some users see the new service as a way to support the platform and gain access to new features, others view it as a money-grab by Twitter that unfairly targets smaller accounts.
Many prominent personalities have voiced their concerns over the new paid service. Larry Madowo, a well-known Kenyan journalist and news anchor, recently joined the growing list of celebrities who have refused to pay for Twitter Blue for the coveted verification badge. Madowo expressed his reservations about paying for the service, citing concerns about the potential loss of his verified status on the platform. He also highlighted the risk of identity theft and other malicious activities that could arise if anyone could create an account in his name and get it verified for a fee.
The decision to charge for verification badges has left some individuals questioning Twitter's motives. Some argue that it unfairly targets smaller accounts, while others see it as a way for Twitter to monetize its platform. Nevertheless, the move has been made, and Twitter users must now decide whether to pay for the badge or risk losing their verified status on the platform. As for Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, it remains to be seen whether he will choose to pay for his badge or continue to post without it.