Microblogging platform Twitter today followed through on CEO Elon Musk’s promise to remove legacy verified blue ticks from all accounts; although Musk has publicly stated that he is paying out of his own pocket for the mark to continue for certain celebrities’ profiles.
According to Twitter’s new policy, after yesterday, the only individual users who have verified blue checkmarks are those paying for Twitter Blue, which costs USD 8/month via the web and USD 11/month through in-app payment on iOS and Android.
Several Indian celebrities, including Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Alia Bhatt; politicians like CM Yogi Adityanath, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi; and cricket stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, among others have had the blue ticks removed from their Twitter pages.
Amitabh Bachchan today posted a funny tweet which went viral saying he has paid the subscription fees of Twitter Blue and requested that his blue tick be restored. He posted the tweet in Awadhi (language native to Prayagraj and areas around it), asking Twitter to "listen to him".
"T 4623 - Hey Twitter! Are you listening? I have paid for the subscription service... so please put back the blue lotus in front of my name, so that people know that I am Amitabh Bachchan. I am making the request with folded hands... now should I fall at your feet?" Bachchan said in his tweet.
Meanwhile, after prominent celebrities in the USA like basketball star LeBron James and noted author Stephen King refused to pay for blue checks, Musk admitted that he will personally pay for their subscription bills.
Stephen King tweeted that the information currently listed on his profile is incorrect, maintaining that he is not subscribed and has not verified his account with a phone number, to which Musk tweeted saying "You're welcome namaste," implying that he has paid for his verification.
Of the 50 most-followed accounts on Twitter, only seven users - apart from Musk himself and Barack Obama, who have affiliate blue checks linked to official organisations - are currently verified, including Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, LeBron James, Jimmy Fallon, and Miley Cyrus.
Earlier in March, Twitter posted from their official handle, "On April 1, we will begin winding down our legacy verified programme and removing legacy verified checkmarks. To keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue.”
Initially, the blue tick served as a way of protecting well-known individuals from impersonation and tackling false information.
Twitter first introduced the blue check mark system in 2009 to help users identify that celebrities, politicians, companies and brands, news organizations and other accounts "of public interest" were genuine and not impostors or parody accounts. The company didn't previously charge for verification.
Musk launched Twitter Blue with the check-mark badge as one of the premium perks within two weeks of the company's takeover last year.