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The backstory: From his Twitter takeover last November, CEO Elon Musk publicly planned on making blue-check verification only available to Twitter Blue users, initially with a subscription of US$20 a month. When public figures like author Stephen King said they weren't interested in paying for verification, Musk brought that price down to US$8 per month for the site and US$11 monthly for app users. The purpose of verification used to be ensuring people were who they said they were and stopping the spread of misinformation and impersonators. So, now, many users are asking: what's the point of paid verification?
More recently: Over the last couple of months, some users kept their legacy verification while others were verified through Twitter Blue, causing confusion. But, despite a lot of pushback, Twitter decided to move forward with paid-only verification. On April 20, the site got rid of blue checks for all non-paying users, from celebrities to news sources to athletes to government officials. This meant big names like Oprah and the pope became checkless.
Then, over the weekend, @BlockTheBlue went viral, pushing users to block anyone with a verification checkmark. The idea was to shun users who had paid for the service, especially since the Twitter algorithm boosted those profiles. @BlockTheBlue was later suspended by Twitter, but famous comic poster dril kept the trend going.
The development: On Sunday, Twitter users began noticing that some previously verified users hadn't subscribed to Twitter Blue but still had their checkmarks. Along with this verification came a false statement on their profiles that they'd paid for Twitter Blue and verified a phone number. Celebs like William Shatner, LeBron James, Stephen King and many others have gotten their checkmarks without paying. Musk responded, saying he's personally paying for these subscriptions.
But a lot of these users don't want to be associated with this whole subscription scheme. Some say Musk is verifying people who have been critical of him and Twitter Blue out of spite, essentially making it seem like they endorse it. Twitter's even verified dead celebrities, like Michael Jackson and Mac Miller, who obviously can't endorse Twitter Blue.
"now that i have the baneful blue mark, I undertand the pain ive wrought. i was wrong to torment dog coin guys. im jealous of their million's," tweeted legendary shitposter @dril, who was given his checkmark back.
"I didn't pay for Twitter Blue. This label is a lie. Elon Musk appears to have given free verification to everyone with over 1 million followers, including the dead like @chadwickboseman @Pele @kobebryant @Bourdain," tweeted CNN International Correspondent Larry Madowo.
"Change your name and it triggers a checkmark removal. But then don't talk about it again or you will get another," Chrissy Teigan tweeted as advice to Jon Favreau for getting rid of an unwanted verification.