Tumblr has been enjoying a resurgence thanks to some recent policy changes and ongoing chaos at Twitter, and that’s drawn a few real-world celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Lynda Carter to the platform. Unlike most big social networks, though, Tumblr doesn’t verify high-profile accounts’ authenticity. That’s caused a little confusion since, without a link from some known off-platform account, it’s almost impossible to tell if these accounts are real. Fortunately, Tumblr is rolling out a new feature that will do absolutely nothing to change this — and you can buy it for a one-time fee of $7.99.
The Tumblr Important Blue Internet Checkmark is the latest of a few joke items Tumblr sells on its web store, and it does about what you’d expect: add a blue check — actually two blue checks — next to a blog of your choice. In case it’s not 100 percent clear, this is a complete vanity purchase that confers no special status and requires nothing except paying around $8. Where Twitter’s new verification plan gets you some extra site features via Twitter Blue for $8 a month, your only perk here is that the badge “may turn into a bunch of crabs at any time.” (If your Tumblr hasn’t been updated since 2014 or so, this references an on-site April Fools’ joke.)
More seriously, this joke cements the status quo that Tumblr — currently owned by WordPress.com operator Automattic — isn’t interested in verification. Knowledge of the site’s real-world-famous members is a kind of community lore, mostly centered on author and active Tumblr user Neil Gaiman, who chats with fans regularly about things like Netflix’s Sandman adaptation and whether he is actually Neil Gaiman. (He is.) And for now, it’s likely to stay that way.
Meanwhile, Twitter is still figuring out the precise details of its verification strategy, including when previously verified users who don’t subscribe will lose their checks. But new owner Elon Musk stated today that it will happen in the coming months, asserting that the site needed to be purged of “corrupt” blue badges. His public views on crabs, as well as whether he violated a federal consent decree and asked Twitter engineers to risk prison over it, remain unknown.