Will there be an investigation into the claim that $15K bought you a verified Twitter account?

As the saying goes, any headline that is posed as a question can be answered with "no". We'll see, I suppose if the media's newfound lust to scrutinize Twitter and its inner workings will actually lead to new revelations. Likewise, we'll see if Twitter's new boss and owner Elon Musk wants to get to the bottom of what really went on with Twitter verifications.


Due to Elon's habit of tweeting quite happily himself, people are convinced that he will, because he replied with a "yup" to another tweet. This "yup" has now been taken as confirmation that people paid $15,000 to get their verified status.

The fact that verified accounts could cost money has been well-known for a full decade. AdAge reported in 2012 that "A Twitter Sales Rep Said It Would Cost $15K", as one way of getting the coveted checkmark. Adland reported in 2016 that the price had actually gone up, as a company with a checkmark stopped advertising on Twitter and promptly lost its verified status. That means that a verified check cost $60,000 a year. Verification has been completely arbitrary as Twitter explained to us in 2016: "We concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas." but who was famous and who wasn't seemed to be completely up to them as barely established journalists were given verification, while known rockstars were not. 

It seemed clear to everyone that to get verified you either had to get lucky, pay someone, or have another "in" at Twitter. So now that Elon Musk has seemingly confirmed what everyone already knew, the question becomes, will he find who did it? Did the people who pressured advertisers to pay for verification pocket this money, or is it in the books? Was this done on order from higher-ups, or was it a team that had gone rogue?

As per usual, we've reached out to Twitter to get clarification on this, but at the time of publication have not heard back. 


Full disclosure, @adland has not paid for its verified status. We applied for it and had to scan a government issue ID and some other information given to Twitter to get said verification. Same for my personal account.

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