Twitter Is Giving Some Celebrities A Blue Badge Even If They Refuse To Sign Up

Twitter has started taking away the verified blue badge from accounts that aren't paying for a Twitter Blue subscription. From journalists and businessmen like Bill Gates to global icons such as Cristiano Ronaldo and even Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, the blue tick is gone without any discrimination, it seems. But it looks like Elon Musk has made a few exceptions, right from his own pocket.

Musk has shared on Twitter that he is paying the Twitter Blue fee for some accounts from his own pocket. According to The Verge, Twitter has emailed an unspecified number of popular with the offer of letting them keep their blue checkmark without having to pay $8 per month toward a Twitter Blue subscription. Among them is said to be NBA superstar LeBron James, who was reportedly told via an email that the company is extending him a "complimentary subscription to Twitter Blue" on behalf of Musk.

Back in March, James tweeted that he won't be paying for a Twitter Blue subscription to keep his verified badge. It is unclear why Musk is paying for James, whose net worth was over a billion dollars in 2022, despite the basketball star not being eager to pay a few dollars from his vast fortune.

Lords & peasants: Part Deux

James isn't the only legacy-verified celebrity in Musk's selectively generous eyes. Author Stephen King, who has been beefing with Musk over the idea of selling verification for months, still has his blue checkmark intact. "My Twitter account says I've subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven't," King tweeted. Musk responded with a "you're welcome" to the celebrated writer's post, confirming that he is covering King's Twitter Blue fee, as well.

It's a rather ironic turn of events. "Twitter's current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn't have a blue checkmark is bulls**t," Musk tweeted back in November last year. The billionaire argued that he is democratizing the verified badge for a nominal fee of $8 per month. 

But it appears that Musk has become the "Lord" in that very "lords & peasants" system that he formerly criticized, leading to a reimaging of the whole verification system. He once argued that Twitter was arbitrarily giving a verified badge to people based on opaque notability criteria. Musk is now arbitrarily paying for the verified badge of a handful of celebrities seemingly based on personal preferences.