Dril and other Twitter power users begin campaign to ‘Block the Blue’ paid checkmarks

Elon Musk has proceeded with his promise to remove Twitter’s old verification system. Initially expected on 1 April, blue checkmarks were removed a few days ago from all but those who pay for it via the Twitter Blue service. This has sparked a “Block the Blue” campaign on the platform urging users to block accounts paying for Twitter Blue with the blue checkmark now seen as “dumb” and the “complete opposite” of what users want. Leading the campaign is the anonymous user @dril, who has 1.76 million followers and is described as a legend on Twitter. As part of the movement, various well-known Twitter users have said they will block all Twitter Blue subscribers. Musk’s updated verification program has come under fire as disinformation and extremism researchers report that neo-nazis and white supremacists are being verified on the platform concurrently with a noticeable drop in quality from verified accounts. Musk’s move follows his acquisition of Twitter in October 2022 and his previous statements that he had a disdain for the old verification system. There are currently around 630,000 subscribers to Twitter Blue, according to independent researcher Travis Brown. The campaign has grown in support from various account holders, including NBC reporter Ben Collins and Harvard Law Cyberlaw Clinic’s Alejandra Caraballo. However, the campaign has not gone down well with everyone, and Twitter has reportedly suspended the @BlockTheBlue account for an unknown reason.

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