‘Farewell blue tick, old friend’: Beyonce and Pope Francis lose verified Twitter status

Elon Musk leaves stamp on accounts of well-known users Stephen King, Lebron James and William Shatner

Twitter has been removing legacy blue checkmarks from user profiles, with famous people including singer Beyonce and Pope Francis losing their verified statuses.

Some personalities such as basketball star LeBron James and author Stephen King still retained their checkmarks.

‘The Shining’ author King, who has previously called Twitter owner Elon Musk a terrible fit for the platform, tweeted: “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.”

Musk tweeted back to him: “You’re welcome namaste,” with a hands folded emoji.


The Verge reported that James, who has previously said he would not pay for verification, had not paid to keep the check mark.

Musk tweeted separately: “I’m paying for a few personally”. He later added “Just Shatner, LeBron and King,” referring to Star Trek actor William Shatner, who had last month complained about being forced to pay to keep his blue checkmark.

Among those losing their badges were former US president Donald Trump, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

Comedian Ricky Gervais let his 15.1 million followers know that his blue tick had gone.

“My blue tick has gone. I’m not sure if I’m really me or not,” he tweeted, alongside a zoomed in image of himself.

Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter has changed how it hands out the coveted blue checkmarks that were earlier given to noted individuals, journalists, executives, politicians and establishments after verifying their identities. They served as a mark of authenticity.

Musk said in November that Twitter would begin charging $8 per month for the badge in an effort to develop new revenue streams beyond advertising.

The company later offered check-marks in other colors - gold for businesses and a gray for government and multilateral organizations and officials. It has also started displaying labels like “state-affiliated” and “automated by” against accounts to show when an account is linked to a government or is a bot.

US non-profit National Public Radio (NPR) stopped posting content on its 52 official Twitter feeds after Twitter labeled it “state-affiliated media” and later “government-funded media”.

Public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) also paused its activities on Twitter and sparred with Musk over Twitter’s definition of government-funded.

British comedian and presenter Richard Osman quote-tweeted the official post from Twitter Verified about the removal of the legacy verified checkmarks after losing his, writing: “Farewell blue tick, old friend. Don’t forget, always set your feed to ‘Following’ rather than ‘For You’.

“Then you’ll keep seeing the people you actually follow, and not people who’ve paid for attention.”

One of the most famous profiles with a blue tick because it is “subscribed to Twitter Blue” is Taylor Swift’s, which has 92.5 million followers. - Reuters/PA