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Twitter users surprised to see their blue ticks returned

Alex Berry
April 23, 2023

The social media giant has once again changed how verification ticks work. Many who got their ticks back have pointed out that they're not paying for the subscription service.

https://p.dw.com/p/4QSAJ
The Twitter Blue checkmark in a photo illustration
Some Twitter users have been left having to deny that they paid for the platform's new subscription serviceImage: STR/NurPhoto/picture alliance

Just days after Twitter removed the identity-verifying blue ticks from almost all users who had chosen not to pay the monthly $8 (€7.20) in subscription fees, some of the platforms biggest users were surprised on Saturday to find out that their recognized status had been reinstated for free.

The social media platform — which has experienced a raft of chaotic changes since billionaire Elon Musk took it over last October — removed the blue ticks from non-paying users on Friday.

That same day, Twitter removed the labels that highlighted if media organizations were state-funded or affiliated with the state.

However, a few well-known users, including author Stephen King, NBA champion LeBron James and former US President Donald, Trump were keeping hold of theirs. Musk tweeted that he was "paying for a few [subscriptions] personally."

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Neither Twitter nor Musk commented on the return of the blue ticks, but some users suggested that only accounts that had been previously verified and that had over 1 million followers had been given back their verified status — albeit still with a note saying that they are "subscribed to Twitter Blue."

It appears that the majority of accounts that had previously carried blue ticks were not paying users. Travis Brown, a Berlin-based software developer who tracks social-media platforms, told AFP that they accounted for less than 5% of the 407,000 profiles that were affected.

Some users angry over their blue ticks coming back

Numerous famous names on the platform tweeted to clarify that they were not paying for the Twitter Blue service, nor had they given their phone number for verification.

"Despite the implication when you click the blue badge that has mysteriously re-appeared beside my name, I am not paying for the 'honour,'" actor Ian McKellen wrote.

Writer Stephen King suggested that Elon Musk could donate the $8, or more, to a Ukrainian charity instead of paying for his blue tick.

Others expressed outrage that the accounts of deceased users, such as murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and actor Chadwick Boseman, had also been given back the blue tick along with the claim that they had subscribed to Twitter Blue.

AFP material contributed to this report

Edited by: Darko Janjevic