(The Hill) — The Twitter accounts for late celebrities are being marked as subscribers of the platform’s new Twitter Blue service, sowing further confusion for users after legacy verification check marks were removed from accounts last week.
The accounts of late Lakers star Kobe Bryant, actor Chadwick Boseman, rapper Mac Miller and journalist Anthony Bourdain all appeared with the Twitter Blue checkmark as of Sunday evening. The explanation on each page read that the accounts were “verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”
Before Elon Musk bought Twitter last year, users whose identities had been verified to their accounts could earn a blue checkmark for free — and the distinction was common for celebrities, politicians and other public figures as a way to differentiate verified account-holders from impersonator accounts.
Musk has shifted that policy, and users must now pay an $8 monthly subscription to “Twitter Blue” to obtain a verification check mark. After Twitter Blue was introduced, users were briefly able to keep their “legacy” verification mark, but the feature was removed last week.
Organizations can pay $1,000 monthly for a gold verification mark, and government or multilateral organizations and officials can get a grey mark.
As the legacy checkmarks were removed last week, Musk announced he was paying personally for a few accounts, giving free Twitter verification to NBA star LeBron James, actor William Shatner and writer Stephen King.
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Changes to the Twitter verification system are among a number of controversial changes to the platform made since Musk acquired it last year, including staff cuts and organizational changes.