It’s serious this time.
Many prominent Twitter users are losing the blue checkmarks that served as identification proof and helped set them apart from imposters on the Elon Musk-owned social media site.
Twitter promised to remove the blue checks from accounts that don’t pay a monthly charge to maintain them, but after repeated false starts, it started doing so on Thursday.
Under the first blue-check system, Twitter had roughly 300,000 verified users, many journalists, athletes, and public celebrities.
Late in the morning Pacific Time, the checks started to vanish from these people’s accounts.
The monthly fees for maintaining the marks range from $8 for individual online users to $1,000 to verify a corporation, with an additional $50 for each affiliate or staff account.
As was the case with the previous blue check awarded during the pre-Musk management of the site, Twitter does not independently verify the individual reports to make sure they are who they claim to be.
LeBron James of the NBA and William Shatner of Star Trek have declined to sign up as users. Jason Alexander, a Seinfeld actor, promised to quit the site if Musk took away his blue check.
Musk has been attempting to increase the number of individuals who pay for a premium membership on the ailing site since he paid $44 billion to acquire Twitter in October. But his action also reflects his claim that elite figures, journalists, and others given free verification by Twitter’s former leaders have turned the blue verification marks into an unjustified or “corrupt” status symbol.
About 14 years ago, Twitter began marking user accounts with a blue check mark.
One of the key motivations was to offer an additional option to stop disinformation emanating from accounts imitating persons and protect celebrities from impersonators.
Most “legacy blue checks” include the narratives of politicians, activists, and people who unexpectedly find themselves in the media.
Musk launched a business that offered blue checks to anyone willing to pay $8 per month as one of his first product decisions after taking over Twitter.
Days after its introduction, Twitter had to briefly halt the service because of the high volume of fake accounts that soon flooded the platform, including accounts pretending to be from Nintendo, Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical corporation, and Elon Musk’s companies, Tesla and SpaceX.
The new service has a monthly fee of $8 for online users and $11 for those who use iPhone or Android applications.
Less advertising should be displayed, lengthier films should be allowed to be posted, and tweets should be displayed more prominently for subscribers.