Most so-called “legacy” Twitter accounts lost their blue checkmark on Thursday, just as CEO Elon Musk promised. Two high-profile Twitter accounts, such as those of basketball superstar LeBron James or author Stephen King still display their checkmarks. They paid $8 for Twitter blue. Maybe. But both men previously insisted they wouldn’t be paying.
“Welp guess my blue [checkmark] will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5,” James tweeted on March 31.
But if you click on the blue checkmark next to James’s name, you’ll see it reads, “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”
Is James actually paying for the service or is Musk trying to simply make it look like he’s paying? I’ve tried to reach out to James through Twitter, but obviously users with large accounts—James has over 52 million followers—are unlikely to see random Twitter messages. But the Verge reports an employee at Twitter offered to let James keep his checkmark for free “on behalf of Elon Musk.” James reportedly turned down the offer, but still has his checkmark anyway.
You could chalk it up as an anomaly, except that another account belonging to horror legend Stephen King, who also very publicly said he’d never pay for Twitter Blue, still has his checkmark as of Thursday afternoon.
“$20 a month to keep my blue check? They should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron,” King tweeted back in October of 2022 shortly after Musk bought the company.
The author, King, who had over 7,000,000 followers as of the date this was written, commented on the fact that his checkmark appeared Thursday, after the article first went up. Author deniedTwitter Blue is a price he has to pay.
Pope Francis has been stripped off his robes his checkmarkIn the brief time that he had lost his blue tick, some created impersonator profiles.
Elon Musk makes it seem like high-profile individuals are paying Twitter. He realizes Twitter is pathetic when only the low-follower account. neo-NazisWho is willing to spend money on Twitter verification? Right now, it certainly seems so.
Twitter’s blue checkmark was once a simple way to verify that the person you were interacting with is indeed who they claimed to be. Twitter began implementing verification in order to safeguard high-profile accounts after baseball legend Tony La Russa sued the company for impersonating him back in 2009. But Twitter no longer “verifies” the identity of anyone who pay for Twitter Blue and now that anyone can pay a few bucks to get a meaningless checkmark.
Musk’s automated Twitter response sent to all journalists, a poop emoticon was used to respond to questions emailed to Twitter. I’ll update this article if I receive a legitimate response.
On Thursday evening, Elon Musk tweeted that he was “paying for a few personally” when asked about the verified accounts that no longer wanted to be verified. It’s still unclear how many “a few” might entail.
This article has been updated with the addition of a Stephen King tweet denying that Twitter Blue is paid for and a report from The Verge stating that LeBron had received an email by Twitter asking him to retain his blue checkmark. However, the athlete claims he refused.