Well known celebrities and public figures lose legacy blue tick verification status, as Ricky Gervais etc mock Elon Musk’s move
Elon Musk’s Twitter has begun its purge of legacy blue tick Twitter accounts, with celebrities, public figures and journalists losing their verified status.
Twitter’s move has prompted a reaction from some figures, including Ricky Gervais, Piers Morgan and Richard Osman. Meanwhile Elon Musk says he is paying for verified status for some notable people.
So far legacy blue ticks have disappeared from the likes of Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, the Pope, JK Rowling, Cristiano Ronaldo, Prince William and Kate Middleton on their shared Kensington Royal account, as Elon Musk seeks to get users to pay $8 per month (or $84 a year) for the verified Twitter Blue service.
That said a number of celebrities appear to have already subscribed to Twitter Blue including Gary Lineker, Holly Willoughby and Martin Lewis – all of whom kept their verified status.
Martin Lewis had previously tweeted that his decision last month to pay for Twitter Blue was not an endorsement, saying “”I’ve just paid for Twitter Blue verification, but pls don’t read-across that this is a recommendation, or support for the changes. I’m in a peculiar position that scammers commonly impersonate me to steal from the vulnerable, so I feel obligated to do it to reduce that risk.”
Twitter had announced earlier this week that it will begin removing legacy verified checkmarks.
Twitter reportedly had about 300,000 verified users under the original blue tick system, many of them athletes, musicians, journalists and other public figures.
A number of figures have mocked the move by Elon Musk, including comedian Ricky Gervais (15.1 million followers).
My blue tick has gone.
I’m not sure if I’m really me or not. pic.twitter.com/6ghPgfUSfX
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 20, 2023
Meanwhile Piers Morgan (8.4 million followers), tweeted “BREAKING: I’m pondering the removal of my blue tick by @elonmusk and will make a decision about what I will do…. Tomorrow”.
This led to some rude responses, one of which Morgan retweeted.
Richard Osman (1.2 million followers) tweeted “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 actually follow, and not people who’ve paid for attention.”
Meanwhile celebrity chef Ainsley Harriot (24,500 followers) warned: “Well, farewell legacy blue tick. At least it did let people know it was my verified account so this is just to say please be careful on any fake accounts and potential scams. Have a happy evening everyone – with or without your tick.”
Meanwhile Elon Musk is reporting paying for complimentary subscription account for a number of big name individuals who have refused to pay for a verified account checkmark.
This includes author Stephen King (7.1 million followers), who famously warned Musk last year he would leave Twitter if he pressed ahead with his plan for a monthly fee of $20 for Twitter Blue.
Musk is also providing a complimentary subscription account of LeBron James (52.7 million followers) and William Shatner (2.5 million followers), both of whom reportedly said they would not pay.
Musk confirmed he saying for a few accounts personally.
I’m paying for a few personally
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
Musk’s decision to monetise verification has resulted in public figures and celebrities voicing concerns that the loss of a blue tick will mean that a follower count may become the only way to tell the difference between someone famous, or an imposter.
For example, within a few hours of losing verification, an imposter account posing as Hillary Clinton, complete with the same profile picture as the former US Senator, claimed she would again run for the presidency.
Musk had not helped matters when in one of his first big decisions was to allow users to pay for a tick, declaring “power to the people”. That move quickly backfired, resulting in Twitter becoming awash with inposer accounts posing as brands, celebrities, and politicians, prompting a mass evodus of corporate advertisers.
Besides removing blue ticks for non-subscribers, Twitter has also introduced gold and grey checkmarks. The gold checkmark indicates that the account is an official business account through Twitter Verified Organisations.
Meanwhile the grey checkmark indicates that an account represents a government, multilateral organisation or official.