The great purge of blue checkmarks threatened by Twitter for months finally happened yesterday, as hundreds of formerly verified accounts refreshed the site to see they were now humble members of the Twitter proletariat. The de-verification of "legacy checkmarks" had finally come.
Many former blue-ticks welcomed the change, and for weeks prior voiced they would much rather go without a checkmark than pay for what's quickly become Twitter's equivalent of a “kick me” sign for some online.
However, some high-profile rebels, including LeBron James and Stephen King, were not freed from their status as Twitter bourgeoisie. King complained he remained verified despite not paying to do so. Based on replies to tweets about their confusion, that's because Elon Musk purchased their Twitter Blue access for them.
King publicly balked at the idea of paying for his verification badge in late October. When Musk first floated the idea of making the fee $20, he notably haggled with King to see if he would buy it at $8.
Ahead of an announcement that Twitter would kill the "legacy checkmarks" on April 1st (which didn't come to pass), LeBron James said he had no interest in paying for his. Yesterday afternoon, The Verge then reported that James received a "complimentary" subscription to Twitter Blue "on behalf of Elon Musk."
Other vocal critics of the paid blue checkmark who still have their checks include rapper Ice T and actor William Shatner. Musk tweeted confirmation that he's "paying for a few" Twitter Blue subscriptions "personally," and considering his penchant for trolling many of his critics, some believe that Musk is shelling out $32 a month to punish the celebrities with the checkmark they didn't want.
With news of Musk's apparent troll spreading through the site, many voiced that it felt typical of the perceived petty games he has repeatedly used with his power as Twitter CEO to play on the site, and several critics of the move agreed it was not a good look for the billionaire.
Ironically, Stephen King got his wish when, in his initial protest against paid checks six months ago, he said "They should pay me." Perhaps this is yet another masterful gambit on the part of Elon Musk.
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