The blue checkmarks that served as identification on the social media site may soon be removed from William Shatner, Monica Lewinsky, and other active Twitter commentators, some well-known celebrities, and other obscure journalists.
They could get their marks back if they paid up to $11 a month. But, some devoted users, including 92-year-old Star Trek icon William Shatner, have resisted paying for the pricier service backed by Twitter’s billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk.
Musk is happily announcing, after months of delay, that Friday is the deadline for journalists, celebrities, and others who have been verified for free to pay up or risk losing their legacy status.
In response to a Twitter user who pointed out that Friday is also April Fools Day, he tweeted on Monday, “It will be fantastic.”
Musk has been attempting to increase the number of people who pay for a premium subscription on the ailing site since he paid $44 billion to acquire Twitter in October.
Yet his action also reflects his claim that elite people have begun to use the blue verification marks as an unjustified or “corrupt” status symbol.
Besides validating celebrities, one of Twitter’s primary motivations for adding a free blue check mark to user accounts starting roughly 14 years ago was to add a tool for authenticating politicians, activists, and other individuals who unexpectedly find themselves in the news.
On Sunday, Lewinsky tweeted a screenshot of every impostor, including at least one who appeared to have purchased a blue check mark.
“In what universe is this fair to persons who can experience consequences for impersonation?” she questioned. Before the truth even leaves the door, a lie has traveled halfway across the globe.
Shatner, renowned for his caustic humor, also criticized Musk for the reforms he had promised.
He commented, “I’ve been posting here for 15 years, offering my (clock emoji) & clever views for nothing. Are you telling me I must pay for something you supplied without charging me? ”
Musk said celebrities shouldn’t be held to a higher standard. Musk said that the key is to treat everyone fairly.
After taking over Twitter, Musk launched a service that offered blue checks to anyone willing to pay $8 per month as one of his first product decisions.
Days after its launch, Twitter had to briefly halt the service due to the high volume of fake accounts it received, including those posing as Nintendo, Eli Lilly, the pharma industry, and Elon Musk’s companies, Tesla and SpaceX.
The relaunched service is priced at $8 a month on the web and $11 a month on the iPhone and iPad. Less advertising should be displayed, longer movies may be uploaded, and more tweets would be seen for subscribers.