Legacy blue ticks disappear on Twitter, with a few exceptions

21 Apr 2023

Elon Musk at the Bloomberg Vanity Fair after-party in 2015. Image: Haddad Media/Bloomberg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Stephen King and LeBron James are among the celebrities that have survived the removal of Twitter legacy blue ticks en masse.

Elon Musk has finally begun removing blue ticks from legacy verified accounts in a bid to get Twitter users to pay for a subscription.

Twitter revealed last month that it will begin to wind down its legacy verified programme that gave notable accounts such as government officials, celebrities and journalists a blue tick next to their name to signify it was their authentic account.

Musk has long been a critic of this system, describing it as various times as “corrupt” and a “lords and peasants system”. The promise to do away with legacy blue ticks and introduce paid verification was announced soon after he took over the platform last year.

Changes to the verification badge started taking place earlier this month, when Twitter removed the blue tick from The New York Times’ official account – the only major outlet that was affected – after a Twitter user said the news organisation does not plan to pay for verification.

“Oh ok, we’ll take it off then,” responded Musk. He also criticised The New York Times in a separate tweet, which said the “real tragedy” for the media group is that “their propaganda isn’t even interesting”.

This followed a New York Times report, citing an internal Twitter document, on how Twitter would not remove the blue tick “for its top 500 advertisers and for the 10,000 most-followed organisations that have been previously verified”.

On 11 April, Musk confirmed that all legacy verified accounts would lose their status starting yesterday (20 April). As of today, it seems as though a majority of legacy verified accounts have lost their blue ticks, including some high-profile users such as Beyoncé, Cristiano Ronaldo and even the Pope.

Some others have retained their verification badges, such as many government officials (including Joe Biden and Leo Varadkar) as well as artists such as Taylor Swift.

While those who are notable and still hold on to their blue ticks are presumably paying for Twitter Blue, there are exceptions.

Soon after legacy accounts began losing their status, US novelist Stephen King – who is avowedly against paying for verification – took to Twitter to point out that he still had his blue tick despite not paying for Twitter Blue.

Some other celebrities, such as US basketballer LeBron James, have received complimentary subscriptions to Twitter Blue on behalf of Elon Musk, according to a Verge report.

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Elon Musk at the Bloomberg Vanity Fair After Party 2015. Image: Haddad Media/Bloomberg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic