Tumblr is enjoying a resurgence thanks to some recent policy changes and ongoing chaos on Twitter, and that has drawn some real-life celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Lynda Carter to the platform. However, unlike most major social networks, Tumblr does not verify the authenticity of high-profile accounts. That has caused some confusion, because without a link from a known off-platform account it is almost impossible to tell if these accounts are real. Thankfully, Tumblr is rolling out a new feature that won’t change any of this — and you can buy it for a one-time fee of $7.99.
The Tumblr Important Blue Internet Checkmark is the latest in a few jokes that Tumblr sells on its web store, and it does pretty much what you’d expect: add a blue check mark — actually two blue check marks — next to a blog of your choice. In case it’s not 100 percent clear, this is a complete vanity purchase that grants no special status and requires nothing except paying about $8. Where Twitter’s new verification plan gives you some extra site features through Twitter Blue for $8 each. month, your only advantage here is that the badge “can turn into a bunch of crabs at any time”. (If your Tumblr hasn’t been updated since 2014 or so, it’s referring to an April Fool’s Day joke on the spot.)
In fact, this joke confirms the status quo that Tumblr — currently owned by WordPress.com operator Automattic — isn’t interested in verification. Knowledge of the site’s truly world-renowned members is a kind of community lore, mostly centered on author and active Tumblr user Neil Gaiman, who regularly chats with fans about things like Netflix’s sandman adaptation and whether he is actually Neil Gaiman. (He is.) And it will probably stay that way for a while.
Meanwhile, Twitter is still figuring out the exact details of its verification strategy, including when previously verified users who don’t subscribe lose their checks. But new owner Elon Musk declared today that it will happen in the coming months, claiming the site had to be purged of “corrupt” blue badges. His public views on scratching, as well as whether he violated a federal consent decree and asked Twitter engineers to risk jail time over it, remain unknown.