After months of delay, Twitter owner Elon Musk vows that Saturday is the deadline for people to get together or lose their legacy status.
William Shatner, Monica Lewinsky, and other prolific Twitter commenters (some household names, others obscure journalists) may soon be losing the blue checkmarks that helped verify their identities on the social media platform.
They could get the marks back by paying up to $11 a month. But some longtime users, including 92-year-old Star Trek legend Shatner, have resisted buying the premium service championed by billionaire Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk.
After months of delay, Musk gleefully promises that Saturday is the deadline for celebrities, journalists and others who have been free verified to catch up or lose their legacy status.
“It will be glorious,” he tweeted Monday, in response to a Twitter user who pointed out that Saturday is also April Fool’s Day.
After buying Twitter for $44 billion in OctoberMusk has been trying to boost revenue for the struggling platform by pushing more people to pay for a premium subscription. But his move also reflects his claim that blue check marks have become a symbol of undeserved or “corrupt” status for elite personalities and news reporters.
Along with celebrity verification, one of Twitter’s main reasons for marking profiles with a free blue checkmark from about 14 years ago was to verify politicians, activists, and people who suddenly appear in the news, as well as journalists. little known in small publications. around the world, as an additional tool to curb misinformation coming from accounts impersonating people.
‘Pay for something you gave me for free’
Lewinsky tweeted a screenshot on Sunday of all the people posing as her, including at least one who appears to have paid for a blue check mark. She asked, “what universe is this fair to people who can suffer consequences for being impersonated? a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth walks out the door.”
Shatner, known for his irreverent humor, also tagged Musk with a complaint about the promised changes.
“Been here for 15 years giving my (clock emoji) and witty thoughts for bupkis,” he wrote. “Now you’re telling me I have to pay for something you gave me for free?”
Musk responded that there shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities. “It’s more about treating everyone equally,” Musk tweeted.
For now, those who still have the blue check but apparently haven’t paid the premium rate (a group that includes Beyoncé, Stephen King, Barack and Michelle Obama, Taylor Swift, Tucker Carlson, Drake, and Musk himself) have messages attached to your profile that says you’re a “legacy verified account.” It may or may not be noticeable.”
But while “the spotlight is reasonably on celebrities because of our culture,” the biggest concern for open government advocate Alex Howard, director of the Digital Democracy Project, is that copycats could more easily spread rumors and conspiracies that could move markets or damage surrounding democracies. the world.
“The reason verification exists on this platform was not simply to designate people as notables or authorities, but to prevent spoofing,” Howard said.
One of Musk’s first product moves after taking over Twitter was to launch a service that awards blue checks to anyone willing to pay $8 a month. But it was quickly inundated by imposter accountsincluding those posing as Nintendo, pharmaceutical Eli Lilly, and Musk’s companies Tesla and SpaceX, for which Twitter had to temporarily suspend the service days after its launch.
The relaunched service costs $8 a month for web users and $11 a month for iPhone and iPad users. Subscribers are supposed to see fewer ads, be able to post longer videos, and have their tweets stand out more.