Elon Musk told Twitter users he would remove the old legacy verificed Blue Checks on April 20. Chaos ensued.
When Thursday arrived, everyone who hadn’t paid the $8 entry fee for Twitter Blue no longer had a blue checkmark on the platform. But that policy was quickly walked back, leaving many celebrities tweeting that they hadn’t paid to join the blue-check club as a hashtag campaign #BlockTheBlue saw users mass-blocking Twitter Blue users.
Early reports suggest the reversal is because Twitter Blue’s adoption rates have been anemic among anyone but Elon Musk’s most fervent supporters. Independent researchers determined the subscription service may have only netted 28 new subscribers in the aftermath of the purge.
Meanwhile, celebrities like LeBron James and Stephen King—who were vocally against paid Twitter—saw Blue Checks appear next to their name. In response to one of King’s tweets, Musk confirmed he was personally paying for a few celebs to have Twitter Blue.
Elon Musk seems to firmly misunderstand the concept of the original verification check. It existed solely to stop the impersonation of celebrity accounts, official entities, and businesses on Twitter.
Even with the reinstated blue checkmarks, impersonation is running rampant on the new version of Twitter. And it’s no longer cool to be verified, as many celebs are speaking out to let their followers know they haven’t paid for Twitter Blue.
“On my soul I didn’t pay for Twitter Blue, u will feel my wrath tesla man!” tweeted rapper Lil Nas X on Friday. The worst thing about this seems to be the Twitter Verified pop-up reads as though the person has paid for Twitter Blue. Click on any verified account on Twitter and you’ll see the message “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.” It’s unclear if that wording can be considered a form of false endorsement under the Lanham Act.