For several months, it’s been reported that Twitter would begin charging individuals monthly to have a blue check mark next to their names.
As of Thursday, the platform began its purge of various accounts, removing the symbol that provides an official verification that someone’s account is legitimate.
Many individuals, including academics, journalists, and celebrities, lost their check marks, causing trends to hit the platform, such as “Pay the $8” and “#TwitterBlueTick.”
On Thursday, Monsters and Critics reported that popular WWE star Alexa Bliss called out Twitter over the potential issues they’ll cause by removing her check mark.
However, several notable individuals seemed to retain their check marks without paying a monthly fee. They include horror author Stephen King and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
Multiple celebrities, including LeBron and King, were outspoken about not paying for the Twitter subscription. That begs the question of who is paying for these stars to keep their verification if it’s not them?
Who is paying for LeBron James and Stephen King to have Twitter Blue?
Basketball star LeBron and longtime horror novelist King are among individuals who made it clear they wouldn’t pay for a Twitter Blue subscription. The subscription, which costs $8 per month, allows the individuals to keep the blue check mark to the right of their names on the platform, among other perks.
For many years, the check mark on various social media platforms has been considered a way to verify whether those accounts are legitimately the person, company, brand, or organization it says. According to CNN, Musk initially said changes to the platform would be a way of “treating everyone equally.”
When it began being reported that changes were coming, it brought an uproar from many individuals who had built up their brand and credibility, as they didn’t feel it necessary to now pay for the check mark.
As reports arrived that individuals such as Beyonce and Pope Francis lost their check marks, there were also reports that some celebs may have decided to pay for Twitter Blue. A screenshot below features a story from The Verge initially indicating Twitter claimed LeBron and King were among those seemingly paying for verification.
However, Twitter’s owner Elon Musk jumped in to let everyone know he was “paying for a few personally.”
Musk became CEO and owner of Twitter last year after his buyout of the company for a reported $44 billion. It was believed that Musk would attempt to promote free speech, eliminate spambot accounts, and make the algorithm open-source, which has led to controversy.
Eliminating spambots may be part of the Twitter Blue subscription charge, with another aspect making the social media platform profitable through a monthly charge.
LeBron previously said he wouldn’t pay for Twitter’s blue check mark status
In late March, LeBron shared his thoughts about the news that Twitter would begin charging people for the coveted blue check mark for official verification status.
“Welp guess my blue [check mark] will be gone soon cause if you know me you know I ain’t paying the 5,” he wrote, suggesting it might cost $5 per month.
As of this writing, LeBron still has that check mark. So does King, who confirmed with everyone that he wasn’t paying for the Twitter Blue subscription.
“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,” King tweeted.
That prompted a response from Musk telling him, “You’re welcome, namaste,” with a praying hands emoji next to it.
Per The Guardian, while many individuals lost their blue check marks, including Paul McCartney and Beyonce, governments and select officials received a grey check mark next to their names to show they were legitimate. It remains to be seen if celebrities and others will soon get these grey check marks to help identify their official accounts.