Elon Musk made an announcement Friday morning that could make Twitter users with legacy blue checks feel blue: He wants to take away the social media status symbol.
The Twitter CEO made the declaration after a user with a blue check mark complained that the recent addition of Twitter Blue, the subscription service that bestows a blue check on anyone willing to pay $8 a month, has taken away “the charm” of “the blue tick verification.”
Musk responded that, contrary to this user’s actual sentiments, he plans to remove all legacy blue checks soon, claiming without evidence that “those are the ones that are truly corrupt.”
Twitter began offering verified blue checks to prominent people in 2009 after Kanye West and Shaquille O’Neal complained about other accounts impersonating them on the platform.
In 2013, Twitter said the check marks helped users “discover high-quality sources of information and trust that a legitimate source is authoring the account’s Tweets.” (As a writer for HuffPost, this author has such a check mark on his own Twitter page.)
Blue checks were previously handed out free based on prominence, but since Musk aspires (and badly needs) to increase the company’s revenue, he began charging for blue checks last year, making them available to anyone willing to pay up (before removing that option, then relaunching it).
Following Musk’s latest announcement, many Twitter users have speculated that his plan to get rid of legacy blue checks will have undesirable consequences:
Jenna Ellis, a onetime lawyer to former President Donald Trump, wondered what will happen to prominent people who also shelled out money for Twitter Blue.
But one guy was pretty sure he understood what Musk was really saying.