New York CNN
Elon Musk’s Twitter began purging blue verification checkmarks on Thursday from users who had not subscribed to its service. The checks disappeared from the accounts for journalists, academics, and celebrities.
Initially, the rollout was a bit glitchy. Blue checks appeared and disappeared on certain accounts. Some high-profile accounts that were verified also did not seem to lose the checks at first.
Twitter announced earlier that it would "begin winding up" blue checks given under its old verification scheme -- which focused on protecting high-profile users from impersonation risk -- by April 1. Musk stated that users will have to pay an $8 monthly fee to subscribe to Twitter Blue, the platform's subscription service which allows accounts to pay for verified status since December.
Twitter, instead, removed the checkmark from one account of The New York Times - a publication Musk repeatedly criticized - and changed its language to obscure the reason users are verified.
Musk tweeted last week that the "final date for removing Legacy Blue Checks is 4/20," a date which has special meaning to the billionaire given its significance to marijuana enthusiasts.
Musk's Twitter has been upending user experience in recent times, and this latest decision is no exception. Not only are there many high-profile users involved, but also some of the most popular accounts, which have long been the main selling point of the platform.
Users such as William Shatner, an actor, and Monica Lewinksy, a bullying activist, have previously resisted the idea that they, as users who draw attention to a site, should be required to pay for features that keep them safe from being impersonated.
Musk has, on his part, presented previous changes to Twitter's Verification System as a means of 'treating all equally'
In an earlier tweet, he stated that 'there shouldn't be any different standards for celebrities'. Musk could benefit from the paid feature, as it could generate revenue. Musk is currently in debt, after purchasing Twitter for $44 Billion.