- Twitter CEO Elon Musk has removed ‘blue legacy ticks’ from celebrities who refused to pay to have their accounts verified
- Thursday afternoon, A-listers whose accounts of Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber were no longer verified
- Rolling out the suppression took months, with Musk saying since November that Twitter needed to become more profitable
An era ended on Tuesday as Twitter finally removed its famous blue checkmarks, used to designate the official accounts of world leaders, celebrities and sports stars, for those who refused to pay at least.
They could get their marks back by paying between $8 and $11 per month. But some longtime users have been hesitant to buy the premium service championed by twit leader Elon Musk.
After buying Twitter for $44 billion in October, Musk tried to boost the struggling platform’s revenue by getting more people to pay for a premium subscription.
But his decision also reflects his assertion that blue verification marks have become an undeserved or “corrupt” status symbol for elite figures and journalists.
After the withdrawal, actor Ben Stiller joked, “No blue check, still feel like me.” While former Daily Show host Jon Stewart tweeted: “So sad…am I…still me?”
A brief survey on the social media site on Thursday afternoon showed celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Bill Gates were no longer verified.
Neither former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, let alone Pope Francis, who also had his verification revoked. Even Donald Trump’s dormant account is no longer verified.
The removal of verified checkmarks came on the same day as Musk’s SpaceX launch which saw the rocket explode shortly after liftoff.
With so many journalists unverified, finding criticism of the rocket explosion has become nearly impossible.
One whose accounts remain verified at the time of writing is Lakers star LeBron James’ account.
In March, James tweeted: “Welp I guess my blue tick will be gone soon because if you know me I’m not paying the five.”
Besides verifying celebrities, one of the main reasons for Twitter to mark profiles with a free blue tick from about 14 years ago was to verify politicians, activists, and people who suddenly find themselves in news, as well as little-known reporters from smaller publications. around the world, as an additional tool to combat misinformation from accounts impersonating people.
‘I’ve been here for 15 years giving my (clock emoji) and witty thoughts for the bupkis. Now you’re telling me I have to pay for something you gave me for free? William Shatner tweeted after Musk announced the charges.
The South African billionaire responded by saying there shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities. “It’s more about treating everyone the same,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, companies have been paying for a tick of gold for months since Musk’s takeover.
April 1 was the original date to start culling “legacy” ticks, but many remained after that date, causing confusion.
Ten days later, Musk then announced that the “deadline” for removing those ticks would be April 20.
The date is believed to be a sly reference to cannabis, with the number 420 the time of day it is traditionally smoked.
The billionaire was filmed smoking the drug during a live podcast in 2018, alongside comedian Joe Rogan.
Musk tweeted, “Deadline to remove legacy blue checks is 4/20.”
Following Musk’s post, users were quick to express their disappointment with the decision.
One user said: “I’m not afraid of losing my verified tick. I’m afraid that everyone else will lose theirs. The value of the tick does not belong to the holder but to those who are trying to determine whether they should trust the source.
Another added: ‘The whole policy doesn’t make sense. It’s like taking trophies away from people who won (verified) them and letting everyone buy their trophy. The trophy means nothing now.
On the other hand, best-selling author Stephen King was delighted with the announcement, tweeting, “Big whoop.”
These fees are always “subject to change” as the platform aims to “improve” its services and change features “from time to time”.
However, the removal of unpaid ticks has resulted in many impersonation accounts impersonating celebrities and other people.
One user tricked others into believing former US President Donald Trump tweeted, “This is why Elon Musk’s plan isn’t working.”
Another account posed as former President George W Bush – who appeared to post a nasty tweet about Iraq – and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
However, after its takeover, Musk anticipated a lot of “dumb things” on the site.
In November, he tweeted: “Please note that Twitter will be doing a lot of stupid things in the coming months.” We will keep what works and change what doesn’t.
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