Elon Musk Gives “Complimentary” Blue Check to Select Famous Personalities

Elon Musk Gives “Complimentary” Blue Check to Select Famous Personalities

News by Roberto OrosaRoberto Orosa
Published: April 21, 2023

From Stephen King to Lebron James, Elon Musk sure has his favorites.

Key Insights: 

  • Twitter starts removing the verified symbol from accounts not subscribed to Twitter Blue. 
  • While the majority have lost their blue checks, some personalities remain verified despite not paying for the subscription service.  
  • Famous personalities and previous legacy account holders air their thoughts on the bird app. 

Twitter has officially began removing blue check marks from “legacy accounts” to get users to pay for Twitter Blue, a subscription service that offers them special features and privileges.  

The announcement was first made last March 24, with the rollout initially set to start on April 1. 

Following the announcement, users who have not paid for the service were quick to notice that their blue check had stayed intact. In a now deleted tweet, Elon explained that the implementation would need a “few weeks grace” before a full rollout.  

Meanwhile, news outlets like The New York Times had lost its badge early on when it publicly announced it will not pay for the bird app’s new service – and in the process, got under the skin of the Twitter CEO.  

A few weeks later, Musk announced that the full rollout of the blue check removal will commence on “4/20,” a date in celebration of marijuana that the billionaire had frequently used alongside announcements.  

As of today, celebrities such as Lady Gaga (84.6M followers), Beyonce (15.5M followers) and Blackpink (8.9M followers) have lost their blue check.

Three famous personalities maintain blue badge free-of-charge 

Despite the wider rollout, it seems a select few who did not buy Twitter Blue could still enjoy its privileges. 

The company has reached out to certain celebrities such as Lebron James via email to “extend a complimentary subscription to Twitter Blue” on behalf of the Twitter CEO. 

“I’m paying for a few personally,” Musk confirmed.  

Joining Lebron in receiving special treatment is best-selling author Stephen King and Canadian actor William Shatner – both of which were vocal in being against the subscription service since its announcement. 

Upon finding out, King reacted to maintaining his badge with a tweet. “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,” the author wrote. 

In true Musk fashion, the CEO responded jokingly:  

In the Spotlight: Twitter users divided with the new update 

While most have dropped their checks, personalities like Kim Kardashian, Ellen DeGeneres, and musical artists like Taylor Swift and Rihanna have decided to pay $8 a month for the service.  

The Washington Post and the New York Post are among the few news organizations to maintain their badge as well. Meanwhile, Reuters and BBC Breaking - each with millions of followers - have dropped theirs entirely as organizations are required to pay a steep price of $1000 a month to get the gold check mark.  

Twitter Blue’s special privileges include higher tweet visibility in the “For You” recommendations feed, the ability to create long-form tweets, and having the option to write in bold or italic - handy in-app tools especially useful for brands, influencers and celebrities. 

Get connected with the right mobile app developers for your project.

It’s a lot of perks for $8 a month, but the added features may not be enough to turn the app into a platform people are willing to pay for. A Mashable report reveals only 600,000 out of Twitter’s estimated 250 million users are subscribed – less than 1% of its entire user base. 

It’s too early to tell what the retraction of blue checks will do to Twitter, but amid the chaos that sits in the bird app, it is clear Elon is still having a good laugh out of it.  

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