(NBC News) — Twitter is ending a verification system that gave blue check marks to accounts it had determined were authentic and in the public interest, the company said Thursday.

Twitter will begin winding down the system April 1.

The check marks, which were free, are now available through Twitter Blue — a subscription service the company launched last year.

Under the previous program, celebrities, officials, journalists and others the company considered notable could request verification. News feeds, fans, parodies and other similar accounts were ineligible.  

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