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The verification badges started returning to the profiles of celebrities, and many of them did not pay for a Twitter Blue subscription. However, their profiles are “verified” and have blue ticks back.
Twitter Inc is giving back the blue ticks confirming a user’s verification for high-profile accounts with over one million followers. The initiative takes place just a few days after the platform removed the blue checks for users who are not subscribed to the verification.
On April 1, Twitter started removing blue checkmarks that were earlier introduced to signal the authenticity of an account with more than a million followers. Last week, we reported that many celebrities and high-profile figures like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, and others lost their verified blue check marks. As Twitter explained, it winded down its legacy verification program and accounts verified under the previous criteria (active, notable, and authentic) would not retain a blue checkmark unless they are subscribed to Twitter Blue. The subscription for the service started at $8 per month.
Around 400,000 users verified their Twitter accounts under the original blue-check system.
The blue checkmark was seen as an indicator of trustworthiness as it meant a user’s identity had been verified by the platform. The removal of blue ticks provoked confusion, many users found it rude and objected to the changes amid fears that such a system would encourage the spread of misinformation and fake news.
Samuel Woolley, assistant professor at the University of Texas’ School of Information and author of the book “Bots”, explained:
“In fact, this is making Twitter a pay-for-play system, and we know that propagandists, people working to spread disinformation and other forms of manipulation via Twitter, are very much willing and able to finance their operations.”
Notably, the removal of blue checks has turned out to be temporary. Yesterday, the verification badges started returning to the profiles of celebrities. And many of them did not pay for a Twitter Blue subscription. For example, LeBron James, Stephen King, and William Shatner refused to pay the $8 to get on the Twitter Blue plan. However, their profiles are “verified” and have blue ticks back. Stephen King took to Twitter to say that he did not subscribe to the feature.
My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t.
My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 20, 2023
The broadcaster James O’Brien and Bellingcat founder Eliot Higging have also got their blue ticks back without paying for the subscription.
There was no reason for the profiles to get blue ticks provided. But Elon Musk revealed that he is paying for a few high-profile figures himself.
I’m paying for a few personally
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
Many got confused after losing the blue checkmarks, but now there is, even more, to be surprised at. The blue ticks have appeared next to the profiles of people like NBA player Kobe Bryant, who passed away in 2020, journalist Jamal Khashoggi, actor Chadwick Boseman, pop star Michael Jackson, or comedian Norm Macdonald. Their profiles have been inactive for years, but are appearing as “verified”.