Twitter restores blue ticks for celebrities, media

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Twitter’s blue ticks were reinstated on some media, celebrity, and other high-profile accounts on Saturday, prompting outrage among many recipients.

Blue ticks, which were once a free symbol of authenticity and fame, must now be purchased by subscribers for $8 per month, according to Twitter.

Non-paying accounts with a blue tick were removed on Thursday, as owner Elon Musk adopted a policy dubbed “Twitter Blue” to generate fresh money, which was outlined last year.

According to Travis Brown, a Berlin-based software developer who studies social-media sites, just a small percentage of blue-ticked people subscribed – less than 5% of the 407,000 profiles affected.

However, a number of superstars, including novelist Stephen King, NBA champion LeBron James, and former US President Donald Trump, returned their blue ticks on Friday and Saturday, reportedly without their intervention.

Musk said on Twitter on Friday that he was “paying for a few (subscriptions) personally.”

“On my soul i didn’t pay for twitter blue, u will feel my wrath tesla man!” tweeted American rapper Lil Nas X, whose profile features the blue tick.

Some accounts of deceased celebrities, such as US chef Anthony Bourdain, received a blue tick as well.

Many official media accounts, including AFP, which has not subscribed to Twitter Blue, regained a tick.

The New York Times regained its gold badge this month after Musk slammed the news organisation as “propaganda”.

The New York Times is one of the main media organizations that has a gold tick allocated for a “official business account” that pays at least $1,000 per month.

The reintroduced ticks did not entice US public radio NPR or Canada’s public broadcaster CBC, both of which had ceased activity on their accounts and had not resumed tweeting as of Sunday.

The broadcasters were among many who objected to Twitter’s use of the “state-affiliated” and “government-funded” labels, which were previously reserved for non-independent media funded by totalitarian governments.

On Friday, Twitter deleted these designations, as well as those granted to China’s official news outlet Xinhua and Russia’s RT.

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