Twitter Blue confusion: Verified ticks reappear on large accounts

24 Apr 2023

Image: © Ka Han/

After last week’s blue tick purge, many accounts have received the verification mark but claim they never paid, while multiple dead celebrities are now verified.

Twitter’s new verification system is causing another period of confusion, with various high-profile accounts getting a blue tick while claiming they never paid the subscription.

Many of the accounts appear to be those that have more than 1m followers, including Beyoncé, Harry Kane and Dara Ó Briain, who claims he never paid for the blue tick.

Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk, claimed last week that he is paying for the subscriptions of certain celebrities, such as Stephen King and LeBron James.

The verification system has become even more confusing as the accounts of multiple dead celebrities have been verified such as Chadwick Boseman, Kobe Bryant and Anthony Bourdain. It is unclear if people handling these accounts paid for a subscription or were gifted one for free.

The blue ticks on these accounts say: “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number”.

Meanwhile, certain media organisations have been given a gold tick to confirm they are “official” organisations. This includes the BBC, which claims it never paid for the verification.

Power to some people

This marks the latest development in Elon Musk’s chaotic bid to change Twitter’s legacy verification system for a monthly subscription model.

Twitter’s blue tick was originally used as a way to easily identify legitimate accounts and prevent the spread of fake accounts.

Musk has long been a critic of this system, describing it at various times as “corrupt” and a “lords and peasants system”. He also claimed the subscription model would bring “power to the people”.

But the journey to create this new system has not been simple. The first iteration of Twitter Blue led to a wave of impersonation accounts on the platform, which delayed Musk’s plans.

In recent months, there have been different explanations on blue ticks to show if the user paid for Twitter Blue, or if the account was previously verified under the legacy system.

Twitter began a large-scale purge of legacy accounts last week, with many high-profile accounts losing their verified status, though some of these have been reversed in recent days.

But the recent claims of free verification gifts makes it difficult to tell if a high-profile account has paid for Twitter Blue, or if it was gifted the blue tick by Twitter.

The platform took a hit last week, when Microsoft announced it will drop the social media company from its advertising platform this week.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic