Confusion surrounding Twitter’s blue tick policy continues after a number of high-profile accounts got blue check-marks reinstated, even though some of their owners have been dead for years and others denied having paid the monthly subscription or even signing up for the tag.
A host of celebrities and public figures took to the platform to deny having paid the USD 8-a-month required to become eligible for the tick, despite labels stating the "account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number".
Unpaid, legacy blue ticks - which once conferred authenticity on accounts verified by the company - were removed last week as part of billionaire owner Elon Musk's push to boost revenue.
Global star Priyanka Chopra had her blue tick returned on the microblogging site. The actress reacted, "Woah! Dunno how but the blue tick is back. I'm Priyanka again!"
Veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan, however had the quirkiest way of expressing his gratitude. He wrote, "Tu cheez badi hai musk musk."
"For the curious, I'm not subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven't given anyone my phone number," fantasy author Neil Gaiman wrote. British actor Ian McKellen said he isn't "paying for the 'honor'." Even the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which also received the blue mark, sought to clarify that it has "never subscribed and paid" for the service.
Top cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli who lost the blue tick mark on their Twitter handles, have also got them back. Bollywood actors like Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan, cricketers Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, former US President Donald Trump, and billionaire Bill Gates, who also lost their blue ticks because of the new update, have the blue checkmark back on their profile.
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai took to Twitter to express her surprise and delight at getting the blue tick reinstated.
"I don't know what happened but I'm happy to have my blue tick back so everyone knows I am still Malala," she tweeted.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah - who got the blue tick back on his Twitter handle - tweeted that he did not pay for it.
"Apparently I've paid for Twitter Blue & given them a phone number to verify except that I haven't. Mr Musk are you paying for mine as well?" Abdullah tweeted.
Users were quick to speculate about the latest developments, with some wondering whether the label was automatically provided to accounts that cleared a million subscribers. But there appeared to be key exceptions, with the profiles of stars like actor Ryan Reynolds still missing a blue tick he once held, despite having more than 21 million followers.
People also noticed that dead personalities' accounts also sported the label. Actors Sushant Singh Rajput, Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan, singer Lata Mangeshkar, American singer Michael Jackson, basketball player Kobe Bryant, cricketer Shane Warne, footballer Pele, are some of the noted dead personalities whose accounts appeared to be verified.
Twitter users also expressed their anger by the addition of blue ticks for profiles of people such as prominent journalist and columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018. The account of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated last year, also received the verified label. None of the profiles appeared to be active.
Some found humor in the situation. "I can only assume this is a gift for all the bath pics over the years," wrote British comedian Ricky Gervais.
Another controversial change was the removal of labels describing news organisations as government-funded or state-affiliated, after weeks of sparring between Musk and organisations like the British Broadcasting Corp. and National Public Radio.
The move has come under additional scrutiny after all labels got dropped for Chinese state media like the Xinhua News Agency, or Russian government-funded RT, which have been accused of peddling disinformation in the past. Both of their main accounts now have the Twitter Blue marks as well.
Twitter, which no longer has a communications team, did not specifically respond to a request for comment.