Twitter Verification Backlash: Blue Tick Controversy

 Ms. Tanushree Saxena
Ms. Tanushree Saxena
State Coordinator Gujrat, Policy & Advocacy, CyberPeace
Apr 26, 2023


Twitter is a popular social media plate form with millions of users all around the world. Twitter’s blue tick system, which verifies the identity of high-profile accounts, has been under intense scrutiny in recent years. The platform must face backlash from its users and brands who have accused it of basis, inaccuracy, and inconsistency in its verification process. This blog post will explore the questions raised on the verification process and its impact on users and big brands.

What is Twitter’s blue trick System?

The blue tick system was introduced in 2009 to help users identify the authenticity of well-known public figures, Politicians, celebrities, sportspeople, and big brands. The Twitter blue Tick system verifies the identity of high-profile accounts to display a blue badge next to your username.

According to a survey, roughly there are 294,000 verified Twitter Accounts which means they have a blue tick badge with them and have also paid the subscription for the service, which is nearly $7.99 monthly, so think about those subscribers who have paid the amount and have also lost their blue badge won’t they feel cheated?

The Controversy

Despite its initial aim, the blue tick system has received much criticism from consumers and brands. Twitter’s irregular and non-transparent verification procedure has sparked accusations of prejudice and inaccuracy. Many Twitter users have complained that the network’s verification process is random and favours account with huge followings or celebrity status. In contrast, others have criticised the platform for certifying accounts that promote harmful or controversial content.

Furthermore, the verification mechanism has generated user confusion, as many need to understand the significance of the blue tick badge. Some users have concluded that the blue tick symbol represents a Twitter endorsement or that the account is trustworthy. This confusion has resulted in users following and engaging with verified accounts that promote misleading or inaccurate data, undermining the platform’s credibility.

How did the Blue Tick Row start in India?

On 21 May 2021, when the government asked Twitter to remove the blue badge from several profiles of high-profile Indian politicians, including the Indian National Congress Party Vice-President Mr Rahul Ghandhi.

The blue badge gives the users an authenticated identity. Many celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, popularly known as Big B, Vir Das, Prakash Raj, Virat Kohli, and Rohit Sharma, have lost their blue tick despite being verified handles.

What is the Twitter policy on blue tick?

To Twitter’s policy, blue verification badges may be removed from accounts if the account holder violates the company’s verification policy or terms of service. In such circumstances, Twitter typically notifies the account holder of the removal of the verification badge and the reason for the removal. In the instance of the “Twitter blue badge row” in India, however, it appears that Twitter did not notify the impacted politicians or their representatives before revoking their verification badges. Twitter’s lack of communication has exacerbated the controversy around the episode, with some critics accusing the company of acting arbitrarily and not following due process.

Is there a solution?

The “Twitter blue badge row” has no simple answer since it involves a complex convergence of concerns about free expression, social media policies, and government laws. However, here are some alternatives:

  • Establish clear guidelines: Twitter should develop and constantly implement clear guidelines and policies for the verification process. All users, including politicians and government officials, would benefit from greater transparency and clarity.
  • Increase transparency: Twitter’s decision-making process for deleting or restoring verification badges should be more open. This could include providing explicit reasons for badge removal, notifying impacted users promptly, and offering an appeals mechanism for those who believe their credentials were removed unfairly.
  • Engage in constructive dialogue: Twitter should engage in constructive dialogue with government authorities and other stakeholders to address concerns about the platform’s content moderation procedures. This could contribute to a more collaborative approach to managing online content, leading to more effective and accepted policies.
  • Follow local rules and regulations: Twitter should collaborate with the Indian government to ensure it conforms to local laws and regulations while maintaining freedom of expression. This could involve adopting more precise standards for handling requests for material removal or other actions from governments and other organisations.


To sum up, the “Twitter blue tick row” in India has highlighted the complex challenges that Social media faces daily in handling the conflicting interests of free expression, government rules, and their own content moderation procedures. While Twitter’s decision to withdraw the blue verification badges of several prominent Indian politicians garnered anger from the government and some public members, it also raised questions about the transparency and uniformity of Twitter’s verification procedure. In order to deal with this issue, Twitter must establish clear verification procedures and norms, promote transparency in its decision-making process, participate in constructive communication with stakeholders, and adhere to local laws and regulations. Furthermore, the Indian government should collaborate with social media platforms to create more effective and acceptable laws that balance the necessity for free expression and the protection of citizens’ rights. The “Twitter blue tick row” is just one example of the complex challenges that social media platforms face in managing online content, and it emphasises the need for greater collaboration among platforms, governments, and civil society organisations to develop effective solutions that protect both free expression and citizens’ rights.

Apr 26, 2023
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