On April 20, as Elon Musk had announced, Twitter started un-checking thousands of "Legacy" verified accounts, which the company had deemed "active, notable, and authentic" unless those users were subscribers to Twitter Blue.
A purge of blue checkmarks from Twitter accounts verified under the company's previous regime has begun. Eccentric billionaire Elon Musk announced plans to make verifications subscription-only shortly after acquiring the social media giants for a cool US$44 billion in October. This was true even for Legacy accounts that had already been confirmed for a long time. Many other social media companies including Facebook and Instagram have made moves to copy the approach.
For years, certain Twitter accounts, such as those belonging to celebrities, public figures, and companies, came with a famous blue tick which indicated that the accounts were genuine and had been verified to prevent impersonation.
However, many notable individuals have lost their coveted Twitter blue ticks for declining to pay for verification. Under the controversial new rules, blue ticks are starting to be removed from accounts that do not pay for them.
Verification is expensive; a bluetick costs US$8 ($11.80) monthly for individuals, and a gold chick costs US$1000($1484) monthly for organizations. Grey ticks will be present for accounts connected to the government or multilateral organizations.
Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Pope Francis, Donald Trump, Christiano Ronaldo, and The Prince and Princess of Wales are among the massive celebrities that lost their blue ticks on Twitter yesterday. Several well-known organizations, including New York Times, have also lost their blue ticks.
Cristiano Ronaldo's and other top celebrity Twitter accounts has no blue ticks
Although 10,000 Twitter accounts with the most followers will be immune from the new paid verification criteria.
However, despite publicly declaring they would not pay for verification, several celebrities, including basketball player LeBron James, rapper Ice-T, and novelist Stephen King still have their blue ticks.
Although Twitter insiders have also suggested the removal of ticks will be a gradual process as it is done manually, Musk himself has added to the uncertainty while stating he was personally paying for select celebrities' blue checks, especially Star Trek actor William Shatner, LeBron, and King. "I am paying for a few personally, just William Shatner, LeBron James, and Stephen King," said Musk.
The account information against blue ticks had changed to read: "This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number".
British comedian Richard Osman was among the many Twitter users who took to the platform to mourn the blue ticks.
"Farewell blue tick, old friend. Don't forget, always set your feed to 'Following' rather than 'For You'. Then you'll keep seeing the people you follow, and not people who've paid for attention," he tweeted, while others couldn't resist poking fun at the situation.
"My blue tick has gone. I'm not sure if I'm me or not," Ricky Gervais tweeted, while actor Ben Stiller cracked: "No blue check, still feel like me."
"So sad … am I … still me?" former Daily Show host Jon Stewart tweeted.
Countless regular users also took to Twitter to Mark the change.
The removal of verification from so many accounts has also raised concerns that troublemakers and fraudsters can now impersonate well-known individuals or organizations with greater ease.