Elon Musk-owned Twitter on Sunday restored the blue checkmark to select accounts with more than one million followers without having to pay for the paid Twitter Blue subscription service.
This move comes after the popular microblogging platform created an uproar on the internet last Thursday when it started removing “legacy checkmarks”, a marker for verified accounts on Twitter, for accounts that have not subscribed to the paid Twitter Blue service.
Apparently, only users who have subscribed for the Twitter Blue subscription ($7.99 per month) will get the blue checkmark on their account and be granted access to some brand-new features.
For those unaware, prior to Musk’s takeover of Twitter, accounts with checkmarks, also known as “legacy accounts”, were offered the option to pay for the subscription fees following its rollout or risk losing their check mark. This move was originally introduced in early November 2022 to prevent the impersonation of public figures and parody accounts.
However, the deadline to implement the Twitter Blue subscription service was pushed several times. Earlier this month, Musk announced that Twitter users who got verified under the old regime will risk losing the coveted blue tick if they do not pay before April 20, 2023 (Thursday).
Initially, Twitter had planned to remove legacy verified badges from April 1, 2023, but it started removing checkmarks from several high-profile accounts, ranging from government, celebrities, business leaders, journalists, and politicians only last Thursday.
The removal of the blue checkmark, which is considered an indicator that a user’s identity has been verified by the platform, had left prominent public figures as well as governments and other organizations around the world struggling to prove their authenticity.
In fact, a few global personalities such as legendary author Stephen King, U.S. professional basketball player LeBron James and award-winning actor William Shatner even publicly announced that they would not sign up for the paid service to which Musk responded that he would personally pay for these accounts.
“I’m paying for a few personally,” the CEO tweeted in response to a claim from T(w)itter Daily News that “Some celebrities have been offered a complimentary Blue subscription ‘on behalf of Elon Musk.’”
“Just Shatner, LeBron and King,” Musk tweeted on Friday.
However, on Sunday morning, several celebrities from across the world of politics, entertainment, and sports as well as media houses and organizations were in for a surprise when they saw their blue ticks reappear next to their names and handles on Twitter.
The social networking platform had decided to restore the coveted blue tick to accounts that had a follower count of one million or more for free even for those accounts that have not paid for subscriptions.
Many users tweeted on Sunday morning that the coveted blue ticks were added back to their accounts even though they have signed up for the paid Twitter Blue subscription service.
“I woke up to a blue tick again. I didn’t pay for Twitter Blue. Reports say Elon Musk has given it back to ‘legacy verified’ accounts with over 1 million followers. What’s going on?” CNN journalist Larry Madowo tweeted.
“I don’t know what happened but I’m happy to have my blue tick back so everyone knows I am still Malala,” tweeted Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai expressing surprise and delight.
What’s more interesting is that even dormant accounts of celebrities who are now dead show that they have subscribed to Twitter Blue, and have got their blue tick restored.
Some of these accounts include the late actor Chadwick Boseman, basketball player Kobe Bryant, singer Michael Jackson, cricketer Shane Warne, John McAfee, Kirstie Alley, and Norm Macdonald, among many others.
Twitter is yet to comment on why it has restored the blue tick for accounts with 1 million followers. Keep watching this space for more updates!