Earlier today, Thursday, April 20th, Twitter went ahead with what it had been planning for a while. It removed almost all legacy verified checkmarks.
I say “almost all” because some notable accounts that were originally legacy verified still have the Blue checkmark on their accounts with the prompt “This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.” The interesting thing, however, is that some of these accounts haven’t paid for Twitter Blue.
First spotted by The Verge, one such celebrity is LeBron James, who has been a vocal critic of Twitter’s paid verification system, insisting that he will not pay the Twitter Blue fee. In a statement given to The Verge, James’ media advisor confirmed that the NBA star had not paid the monthly fee for Twitter Blue.
It was later revealed that Twitter CEO Elon Musk himself is “paying for a few [accounts] personally.”
I’m paying for a few personally
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
Other notable celebrities in the same boat as LeBron include author Stephen King and rapper Ice T. Both of them have been vocal about not paying a monthly fee to be verified on Twitter, and yet, they retain their badge.
“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,” wrote Stephen King, while Ice T wrote “The fact that we’re even discussing Blue Check marks is a Sad moment in society. Smh lol.”
It is currently unknown how many other celebrities have received a free verification badge courtesy of Elon Musk, though it is certain those vocal about not paying for Twitter Blue, and yet receiving the Blue badge would speak out soon.