Dead Celebrities Get Verified on Twitter as Musk Takes U-turn on 'Blue Tick' Subscription Service

Dead Celebrities Get Verified on Twitter as Musk Takes U-turn on 'Blue Tick' Subscription Service
CGetty Images| Photos By Ian Gavan, Kevin Winter, Emma McIntyre, & Dimitrios Kambouris

Elon Musk has courted controversy once again with the Twitter Blue Tick service. News has emerged that several dead celebrities and other high-profile users appeared to have been signed up to the verification service. According to Newsweek, Musk introduced an $8-a-month Twitter Blue subscription service that he claimed would reduce the impact of bots on the website. Following this, on Thursday, April 20, the legacy tick marks, which many Twitter users had as a verification symbol prior to Musk's buyout, were removed leading to several media outlets and personalities buying subscriptions to Twitter Blue. 

GettyImages| Photo illustration by Christopher Furlong
GettyImages| Photo illustration by Christopher Furlong


While some high-profile users declined to pay and had their ticks removed, others, including some who have been dead for years, appeared to still have their checks. ABC reports that verified Twitter profiles that appeared to belong to dead celebrities included Marvel actor Chadwick Boseman, basketball player Kobe Bryant, Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, a journalist named Jamal Khashoggi killed by Saudi agents in Istanbul in 2018, Brazilian soccer icon Pele, TV presenter Anthony Bourdain, Republican Senator John McCain, actress Kirstie Alley, comedian Norm MacDonald and fantasy author Terry Pratchett.

Pratchett's daughter Rhianna Pratchett tweeted about the error on Saturday, April 22: "Just to be clear @terryandrob has not paid for Twitter Blue. If Mr. Musk is a fan then I suggest a rereading of the books might be in order." 


When someone hovers over the blue tick next to the user's name a statement pops up which says: "This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number." It was unclear if the dead Twitter users' agents or other third parties have paid the subscription fee.

A number of fans and users were quick to notice the blunder and showcased their disappointment through comments and tweets. @KatrinaWalker07 tweeted, "Okay Twitter, what's going on now??? Anthony Bourdain, Michael Jackson, Chadwick Boseman, Kobe Bryant, and a lot of other DEAD celebrities now have little blue checkmarks. AND ARE VERIFIED!!??? Exactly what's up with that?? Did they submit certification from the other side??"


@LauraChapin tweeted, "There's now an entire subgenre of Verified dead people on Twitter, including Anthony Bourdain, Chadwick Boseman, and Kobe Bryant. Great job, @elonmusk" 


Musk further confused users when he revealed he had been paying the subscription fee for some of the celebrities. Some of the accounts he has paid for included author Stephen King and actor Sir Ian McKellen. When King tweeted he had not paid for Twitter Blue, Musk replied: "You're welcome namaste." To which King replied, "I think Mr. Musk should give my blue check to charity. I recommend the Prytula Foundation, which provides lifesaving services in Ukraine. It's only $8, so perhaps Mr. Musk could add a bit more."




In the latest development, BBC reports that accounts with more than one million followers have had their "blue tick badges re-instated" by Twitter without paying to subscribe. Beyoncé, Harry Kane, Richard Osman and Victoria Beckham are among those who have received their legacy blue ticks back. 

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