Twitter began removing heritage blue checkmarks from user profiles on Thursday, with celebrities such as pop icon Beyonce and Pope Francis losing their verified statuses.
However, some celebrities, including basketball player LeBron James and author Stephen King, still had checkmarks.
“The Shining” author Stephen King, who has previously criticized Musk as a poor fit for Twitter, tweeted: “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.”
Musk replied, “You’re welcome namaste,” with a hands-folded emoji.
According to The Verge, James, who earlier stated that he would not pay for verification, did not pay to preserve the blue tick.
Musk also tweeted, “I’m paying for a few personally.” Later, he tweeted, “Just Shatner, LeBron, and King,” referring to Star Trek star William Shatner, who grumbled last month about having to pay to keep his blue checkmark.
Former US President Donald Trump, Microsoft Corp pioneer Bill Gates, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian were among those who lost their badges.
Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter has altered how it distributes the coveted blue checkmarks, which were formerly granted to notable individuals, journalists, CEOs, politicians, and organizations after their identities were verified. They were a sign of authenticity.
Musk stated in November that Twitter will begin charging $8 per month for the badge in order to diversify its revenue streams beyond advertising.
Later, the company introduced checkmarks in several colours, including gold for businesses and grey for government and multilateral organizations and officials.
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