Celebrities React to Twitter’s Blue Check Scandal
Under its new CEO Elon Musk, Twitter decided to revoke blue verification checkmarks from individuals not subscribed to Twitter Blue – “an opt-in paid [service that] offers early access to select features [with] localized pricing.” Twitter Blue starts at $8 per month or $84 a year, allowing users to edit tweets, see 50% fewer ads on the site, write tweets up to 10,000 characters, and more. On April 20, 2023, Twitter officially implemented this change, redacting the verification status of hundreds of internet personalities and pop culture icons.
Response from Celebrities
As a result, several public figures spoke out about Twitter Blue. Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry posted a meme featured below of Dexter from Cartoon Network’s Dexter’s Laboratory crying about her new status as an unverified user. Berry also posted a clip of herself walking onto late night TV show set with an audience cheering her on. She captioned the video “Me joining you all tomorrow unverified.”
Rapper Lil Nas X also joined in on the fun by posting a video of Squidward from the children’s show SpongeBob SquarePants asking people on the street for spare change. He tweeted, “Me after I lose my blue check tomorrow.”
Additionally, musicians Ciara and The Game shared their thoughts on the platform update. Ciara tweeted “Blue check or not check…I know my fans still checkin.” The Game cheekily commented, “Check gone but the checks still coming.” Other notable public figures facing the same treatment from Twitter include actors Rachel Zeigler, Ben Stiller, and Rickey Gervais. Further, figures such as Patrick Mahomes and Jason Alexander have denounced Twitter Blue, maintaining they had no intention of investing in the service.
Celebrities Join Twitter Blue
Out of Twitter’s 250 million users, only 600,000 have subscribed to Twitter Blue. Among these 600,000 includes several celebrities. In order to maintain their verification status, influencers have chosen to pay for the service. Signers such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus along with actors like Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, and Chris Hemsworth are among these few.
Some Accounts Retain Verification Regardless of Paid Subscription
Several legacy accounts linked to organizations, however, continue to retain a blue checkmark despite their holders not paying for Twitter Blue. The site “enables bodies of ‘all types’ including businesses, non-profit groups, and government institutions to sign up and manage their verification and affiliate and verify any related content.” For instance, former President Barack Obama’s personal page maintains its verification status, as it is linked to “The Office of Barack and Michelle Obama.” Additionally, President Joe Biden’s among other current politicians’ accounts now have a gray check indicating their status as a “government or multilateral organization account.”
Interestingly enough, some individual accounts held by celebrities still remain verified without subscriptions seemingly at random. Lebron James, William Shatner, and Stephen King “publicly declared [and] criticized the move to pay for a checkmark,” yet they “all have a blue checkmark and are labeled as paying subscribers of Twitter Blue.”