Many of the receivers objected to the reinstatement of Twitter blue ticks on select media, celebrity, and other high-profile accounts on Saturday. Blue ticks, which were formerly a free indication of reliability and fame, are now a subscriber-only perk costing $8 per month, according to Twitter.
But on Friday and Saturday, a lot of famous people—including novelist Stephen King, NBA champion LeBron James, and former US president Donald Trump—gained their blue ticks, presumably without their involvement.
In a tweet sent on Friday, Musk stated that he was “paying for a few (subscriptions) personally.”
“On my soul, I didn’t pay for Twitter blue, u will feel my wrath tesla man!” tweeted American rapper Lil Nas X, whose profile features the blue tick.
A blue tick was also placed on the profiles of certain deceased celebrities, including American chef Anthony Bourdain. Several official media accounts have had their tick back, including AFP, which does not use Twitter Blue. This month, the New York Times regained its gold badge following Musk’s criticism of it as “propaganda”. One of the biggest media organizations, The Times, reserves a gold tick for an “official business account” paying at least $1,000 per month. The US public radio NPR and Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, which later stopped tweeting and ceased activity on their accounts, were not enticed back by the restored ticks as of Sunday.
The labeling of them as “state-affiliated” and “government-funded” by Twitter, which was traditionally reserved for non-independent media supported by dictatorial regimes, was objected to by the broadcasters among others. On Friday, Twitter removed these labels, including the ones that were placed on RT and the official Chinese news outlet Xinhua. “No” indicates “no.” Since the badge came to represent support for Musk, many people who unintentionally received blue ticks made it apparent that they had not subscribed. The tech writer Kara Swisher tweeted on Saturday,
“No means no, boys,”
claiming that she had received the blue tick without her permission.
Two hours after stating that she would not pay “$8/month for blue check and meh features,” she added, “Inquiring minds need to know: Does Elon love me for me or for my 1.49 million followers?” MIT, which received a blue tick as well, tweeted on Saturday, “We did not subscribe to Twitter Blue.”
Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who insulted Musk last July by claiming that he had “bad impulse control,” stated on Saturday: “So my blue check has resurfaced. I am not responsible for it and have nothing to do with it.
The CEO of Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX replied with a picture of a baby wailing over a dish of spaghetti while covered in tomato sauce and wearing a bib with a blue tick overlaid on it.