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Why the White House, LeBron James, and other celebrities are refusing to pay for Twitter’s blue check subscription

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Twitter’s “blue check” verification system was launched in 2009 with the primary purpose of protecting celebrities from impersonation. However, in a recent move following his $44bn Twitter takeover, Elon Musk has proposed that all users pay $8 a month to retain or obtain the coveted blue check mark. This decision has not been well-received by several celebrities on the platform, as well as certain media outlets, who have refused to pay the fee.

The White House and The New York Times have already declined to subscribe to the Twitter Blue service. LeBron James, the highest-paid NBA player of all time, who earns over $40 million annually, also refused to pay $8 a month for the service. “Welp guess my blue ✔️ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5,” James wrote in a tweet.

Other notable personalities, such as actor William Shatner and activist-lawyer Monica Lewinsky, have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the new policy. Shatner tweeted at Musk, saying that he was not willing to pay for something that was originally provided for free.

Lewinsky posted screenshots of several Twitter accounts impersonating her and expressed her concern about the consequences that could result from such impersonation. She wrote, “Well this is going to be fun. In what universe is this fair to people who can suffer consequences for being impersonated? A lie travels halfway around the world before truth even gets out the door.”

Meanwhile, in a surprising move, Twitter removed The New York Times’ blue badge just a week after Musk had announced a new policy for keeping verification badges. This decision has led to further confusion and controversy among Twitter users.

The proposed new policy has also raised concerns about the fairness of such a system. Several users have argued that it is unfair to ask people to pay for a service that was previously provided for free, especially since the blue check mark has become an important tool for combating impersonation and misinformation on the platform.

Twitter had previously announced it would remove the “legacy” blue check mark (profiles that already had the blue check prior to the launch of the Twitter Blue subscription) from all non-subscriber profiles from April 1 onwards. However, the decision seems to have been delayed as of yet.

The situation is expected to continue to be a topic of discussion and intense debate in the coming weeks and months.


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