Major news outlets, politicians, and celebrities around the world are considering ditching Twitter after losing their blue check mark icons. Many of these high-profile Twitter accounts have also had their labels removed or modified in a way they regard as misleading and misrepresentative. The microblogging website removed or changed the “government-funded” or “state-affiliated” labels.
Major news outlets such as the BBC, RT in Russia, NPR in the United States, CBC in Canada, Xinhua in China, and the Swedish public radio have had their Twitter labels describing them as government-funded or state-affiliated removed. Many of the media outlets prefer to be labeled as “publicly funded” but they had their labels changed to “government-funded” or “state-affiliated,” a development they found inaccurate.
Many of these media organizations have chosen to stop using Twitter even after the website tried to appease them by further modifying their labels. This situation started after Twitter began stripping the blue check icons from the accounts of organizations, celebrities, and politicians who did not pay their monthly subscription fees.
To this extent, former President Donald Trump, singer Beyonce, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, and some public organizations have had the Twitter blue check icon stripped from their accounts. Yet many people who subscribed to the blue check mark complain that the verification system and icon are a mess – since many who did not subscribe have the icon indicating that they did.
Author Stephen King did not pay to have the blue check mark on his account, but it is there. “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue,” he stated. “I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t. Just so you know.” The same thing happened to basketball star LeBron James and Star Trek’s William Shatner.
Twitter’s owner Elon Musk tweeted on Thursday that King, James, and Shatner have the blue check marks on their accounts because he is paying for them and a few other personalities. Singer Dionne Warwick said she’d rather use her money to buy “extra hot lattes” than pay for Twitter Blue on a monthly basis.
Warwick said the fact that anyone could pay for the blue check marks will increase the impersonation of celebrities. “The way Twitter is going anyone could be me now,” she said. Although Twitter Blue included having your phone number verified, critics said verifying phone numbers does not verify the identity of the individual behind the phone number.
Anyone could register and verify a phone number on Twitter and claim to be Bill Gates even though the individual is actually a bartender in a local pub – yet he would have had his Twitter account verified with the blue check mark and Gates’ name. The same scenario happened when several accounts claimed to be the official account of the New York City government.
Individuals pay $8 or $11 per month to have the blue checkmark on Twitter while organizations and their affiliates pay much more.