Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
What is Twitter Blue? Everything you need to know
The $44 billion takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk has been turbulent, to say the least. Twitter Blue has been at the heart of much of the debate around the social media platform ever since. But what is Twitter Blue? We’ll give you the lowdown.
Related: 10 best Twitter apps for Android
One of the most infamous events since the beginning of the Musk reign was his introduction of the option to pay $8 for a blue checkmark. These badges of honor were previously reserved only for authenticated accounts of notable people or entities. Inevitably, this led to a slew of accounts paying for the service and then using their new checkmarks to impersonate famous people or businesses, often with humorous results. Musk ended up suspending the service temporarily to limit the havoc being wreaked upon reputations and share prices.
But even if you’ve been following the drama around the bird app, you might not realize that Twitter Blue is more than the ability to buy a checkmark. It also pre-dates the Musk era.
What is Twitter Blue?
Twitter Blue is a paid subscription service that gives users access to a premium version of Twitter. The blue checkmark, which is currently either an indicator that a user has subscribed to Twitter Blue or was previously verified, is just one of a number of features that come with the new version of the service.
While the ability to buy the checkmark might be new, many of the other features are not. Elon wasn’t the first person to try and monetize the app through subscription — Twitter Blue has been around since 2021. Until recently, it has mainly been a way for users to customize their interface and generally enhance their Twitter experience.
Related: How to set up a Twitter account
Following a delay due to the original chaos on the app, Musk relaunched Twitter Blue in November 2022 to incorporate the verification checkmark. More features for subscribers to the new version of the service are in the works. If we refer to the “new Twitter Blue” from here on in, you’ll know that we’re talking about the tech entrepreneur’s reinvented version that is currently in place.
To be clear, Twitter Blue is an opt-in service. Twitter remains free to all users who don’t wish to subscribe, and there hasn’t been any serious suggestion yet that this is going to change any time soon.
How much is Twitter Blue?
For those to whom it is available, Twitter Blue is currently $8 per month on the web and $11 if you sign up on iOS — more on this later. In his own erratic manner, Musk originally proposed a price of $19.99 per month to his followers, only to publicly get into something of a dispute-cum-negotiation with Stephen King (yes, that one) and settle on the current rate.
Twitter’s help pages refer to this subscription rate as an “introductory offer.” When you read that in conjunction with Musk’s initial idea of what fair value for the service is, this might indicate that the price could rise in the future.
When Musk announced the cost of Twitter Blue in an irony-tinged tweet, he followed it up by suggesting that this price would vary depending on which country the user is in. But at the time of writing, it is a flat rate of $8 per month. At least if you subscribe on the web.
It seems that Elon was unable to convince Tim Cook to remove the 30% cut that the Apple Store takes from app revenues, which is likely the reason why the price of Twitter Blue on iOS is set to $11 per month. This new price for iOS users is valid as of December 12.
Users who were already subscribed to the previous version of Twitter Blue before the changes came into effect were paying $2.99 or $4.99 per month in the US. These existing subscriptions to the old version will continue at their current rate for now. You can’t newly subscribe to the old terms anymore, and these accounts won’t have access to the newer features.
Twitter Blue features
The new Twitter Blue combines features of the old version, the blue checkmark, and early access to experimental features that are in the works.
The blue checkmark is the most notable new feature available, causing both controversy and confusion. Not only are new Twitter Blue subscribers given the checkmark automatically on signing up for the service without any need for verification, but these checkmarks are also identical to those of the previously verified accounts. Those authenticated accounts still retain the checkmark at the time of writing.
Though early attempts haven’t gone smoothly, it’s likely that some resolution to these issues will follow soon in order to bring some clarity to the situation.
Other features of Twitter Blue which have carried over from the previous generation of the service include:
- Bookmark folders — Everyone can bookmark tweets, but Twitter Blue users have the ability to create bookmark folders. This allows for faster navigation through bookmarked tweets.
- Custom app icons — This feature lets users change how the icon for Twitter appears on their devices.
- Custom navigation and themes — Twitter Blue allows users to customize their bottom navigation bar by choosing which items they want quick access to. They can also choose different color themes for the app.
- Reader — Users can make reading long threads more seamless by converting the thread into something resembling a news article.
- Top articles — The user gets a list of the most widely shared articles from the people they follow, making it easier to find the type of content they want to read.
- Undo tweet — This feature gives the user a customizable amount of time to retract a sent tweet before it becomes visible to their followers.
A couple of these features aren’t available across all platforms. For example, the blue checkmark is currently only available to iOS and web users, and a couple of the customization features don’t apply to the web version of Twitter.
The experimental features that Twitter Blue subscribers have access to include the fabled edit button, the ability to upload videos in 1080p and of up to 10 minutes in length, plus the ability to add an NFT profile picture. As these are fledgling features, it isn’t yet clear whether they’ll stay exclusive to Twitter Blue or eventually be rolled out to the masses.
Musk has dropped some hints about other features that may come to Twitter Blue in the future, such as priorities in replies and fewer ads. Watch this space.
Twitter Blue availability
At the time of writing, the availability of the new Twitter Blue is pretty limited. It’s currently only available on the web and for in-app purchases on iOS in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. It’s likely this will expand across other platforms quickly and to more territories over time.
A further restriction currently in place is that new Twitter accounts cannot sign up for Twitter Blue in the first 90 days after their creation. This is ostensibly to minimize the risk of impersonation accounts. Perhaps Musk personally dictated that one himself.
Read next: The best Twitter alternatives