Since the earliest days of Twitter, the social media platform has used a blue checkmark to verify the accounts of celebrities, journalists, politicians and other notables, serving as proof that they are who they claim to be.
As of April 1, however, Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has instituted a new paid service for these verification checkmarks, with users now forced to pony up $8 per month in order for a blue checkmark.
“Starting April 1, 2023, we’ll begin winding down our legacy verification program,” reads a message on Twitter’s help page.
The message also insists that users who purchase a blue check “may not impersonate individuals, groups or organizations to mislead, confuse or deceive others, nor use a fake identity in a manner that disrupts the experience of others on Twitter.”
Policing fake-but-verified accounts, however, promises to be a logistical nightmare, given that the Twittersphere is practically bursting with bogus accounts.
Meanwhile, numerous celebrities are balking at the notion of paying a monthly fee to simply prove their identity, and they’ve been expressing themselves via — where else? — Twitter.
One of the most vociferous opponents of Musk’s new scheme is Canadian actor and all-around living legend William Shatner, who addressed Musk directly in a recent tweet.
“Hey @elonmusk what’s this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter? I’ve been here for 15 years giving my ⏰ & witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free? What is this-the Colombia Records & Tape Club?🙄,” wrote Shatner.
Hey @elonmusk what’s this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter? I’ve been here for 15 years giving my ⏰ & witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free? What is this-the Colombia Records & Tape Club?🙄
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 26, 2023
Musk responded, telling Shatner the new policy change is “more about treating everyone equally. There shouldn’t be a different standard for celebrities imo.”
The “Star Trek” icon, however, begged to differ. “That would be wonderful in a perfect 🌎 where equality thrives. Yet that’s not reality, is it? Somewhere, Twitter lost its way. Blue ☑️s were guardrails to legitimacy; not meaningless status symbols,” he wrote, noting that Twitter won’t shut down a parody account (in which Shatner’s first name is spelled with 4 Ls) so long as that person pays the fee.
That would be wonderful in a perfect 🌎 where equality thrives. Yet that’s not reality, is it? Somewhere, Twitter lost its way. Blue ☑️s were guardrails to legitimacy; not meaningless status symbols. Twitter does 🚫 to stop a @WlLLlAMSHATNER (4 Ls)from being verified with a 💳… https://t.co/eEuWoRaM06
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 28, 2023
Shatner went on to call Musk’s scheme “a money grab,” and declared he has no intention of paying for a checkmark.
My choice is to wait for Twitter’s new guardrails; which invariably will go up after some false blue check incident happens & see if I qualify. Until then I’ll go #checkless: that’s the true equality standard 🤔…or is it in 💵🌍?🤷🏼🤣
I guess we will see.
My best, #BluelessBill
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 28, 2023
Other celebrities are following Shatner’s lead, including such Twitter heavy-hitters as Chrissy Teigen, Dionne Warwick and “Seinfeld” star Jason Alexander, who announced he’d be quitting Twitter over the change.
going to bed tonight with my checkmark husband, knowing it will all be over by morning pic.twitter.com/hYXKNrpsdt
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) April 1, 2023
I am not paying for a blue check. That money could (and will) be going towards my extra hot lattes. 😒
— Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) March 31, 2023
Friends, there are bigger issues in the 🌎than the blue verified ✔️next to my name on this account. But without it, anyone can allege to be me. So, if I lose that ✔️ know I will leave this platform. Anyone appearing with it=an imposter. I tell you this while I’m still official.
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) March 28, 2023
Other celebs to weigh include Monica Lewinsky (who shared a screenshot of the plethora of fake accounts pretending to be her), actor Karl Urban, musician Ice Spice, NBA star LeBron James, Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes, “Star Wars” alum Mark Hamill and others.
well this is going to be fun… pic.twitter.com/sMab5OvAXa
— Monica Lewinsky (she/her) (@MonicaLewinsky) March 26, 2023
Hey y’all , I’ll loose the blue tick on Saturday
I’m opposed to spending money on social media .
I’ll go checkless .
Please be careful of
Imposters & money soliciting scams . I will never ask you for money on any social media platform .
— Karl Urban (@KarlUrban) March 28, 2023
1M on here is heavy blue check wya :')
— Ice Spice ☆ (@icespicee_) March 1, 2023
Welp guess my blue ✔️ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5. 🤷🏾♂️
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 31, 2023
Can’t bro i got kids… https://t.co/dP0DlmVaDl
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) March 31, 2023
Took this screenshot in anticipation of becoming blue check-less today.
Surprisingly, it didn't happen… yet.
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) April 2, 2023
Given all the discussion re legacy blue ✔️ s having to pay to keep their check, it's interesting to see which legacy accounts are still tweeting https://t.co/1ASCqwWmXt
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 2, 2023
I am NOT!! Paying for blue check on twitter. I’ll just be blue check-less 😂😂🤷🏽♂️. I know it’s me
— Jimmie Allen (@JimmieAllen) March 30, 2023
Byeeeee blue check, it’s been fun. Be careful of imposters out there @twitter peeps. xo 💙
— valerie bertinelli (@Wolfiesmom) March 31, 2023
Blue checks are for housewives and little girls.
— Kids in the Hall (@KITHOnline) April 2, 2023
Let’s all make not having a blue check the status symbol. https://t.co/IJ5VJMKZN2
— Judd Apatow 🇺🇦 (@JuddApatow) March 30, 2023
What time do we lose our blue checks?
— devon sawa (@DevonESawa) April 1, 2023
When I’d joined Twitter in 2011 it was through my publisher that the arrangement was made; I had never seen Twitter before & had no interest in it. What the blue check meant I had no idea but probably assumed that it meant a “real person” not a pseudonymous account.
— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) April 2, 2023
I loved when I got my blue check mark and I’m thankful that since then I’ve grown enough as a person that I don’t need a verification to validate who I am. With that said, you will always know it’s me by my tweets, which are pro union, lgbtq, acab, etc.
— HeatherMatarazzo (@HeatherMatarazz) April 1, 2023
Why do we all still have our legacy blue check marks? What happened last night? Was Elon visited by The Ghost Bad Business Decisions Past?
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) April 2, 2023
My last blue check night, loving this #Knick game.
— Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) April 1, 2023