Twitter has caused confusion among high-profile celebrities and other elite users by reinstating the blue verification tick, seemingly without explanation. In response, several prominent figures have taken to the platform to express their disbelief and deny that they have paid for the symbol.
The blue check mark was originally introduced as a way for Twitter to verify that users were who they claimed to be, and to prevent impersonation and the spread of misinformation. However, account verification has recently been tied to Twitter Blue, a new subscription service starting at $8 a month that promises to boost visibility and provide other features. The move has been criticized by some as a way for the company to further monetize its platform and create a class of privileged users.
Last week, Twitter removed the blue check marks from many accounts that did not subscribe to Twitter Blue or other premium features. However, over the weekend, the verification symbols reappeared for many high-profile figures, including writer Neil Gaiman, rapper Lil Nas X, gymnast Simone Biles Owens, and Bette Midler.
Users like Lil Nas X were quick to let their followers know that they had not paid for the return of their blue ticks. “On my soul i didn’t pay for twitter blue, u will feel my wrath tesla man!” the rapper tweeted to his eight million followers. Neil Gaiman similarly expressed his dismay, saying “What a sad, muddled place this has become.”
Although Twitter has not publicly commented on the reappearance of blue verification symbols, some speculate that it could be related to technical issues or an inadvertent mistake. Others have suggested that it could be part of a new initiative on the platform to boost user engagement or increase revenue.
For Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter and an outspoken critic of the verification system, the controversy surrounding the blue check mark represents a potential headache. Musk has previously argued that the system was outdated and created an unfair hierarchy on the platform. He has championed Twitter Blue as a way to do away with what he calls a “lords & peasants system” and create a more equitable environment.
However, the lack of uptake for Twitter Blue, especially among users who had previously been verified, suggests that many are unwilling to pay for what they see as basic features or the privilege of a blue tick. Musk’s efforts to turn Twitter into a more profitable enterprise have also faced challenges. Advertisers have been wary of the platform, concerned about issues like hate speech and misinformation, and the company’s attempts to monetize user data have been met with pushback.
For now, it remains unclear why the blue check marks have returned for some users and not others. However, the confusion and discontent among Twitter’s elite users highlights the ongoing debates about the platform’s direction and its monetization strategies. As more and more services become paid products, and as the lines between public and private become increasingly blurred, it seems likely that these issues will continue to be debated and contested by users and stakeholders alike.
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