Twitter has begun removing its signature blue checkmark from verified users who have not signed up for its paid subscription service Twitter Blue.
Elon Musk launched Twitter Blue last year after buying the social media platform for R800 billion.
He then introduced the R200 monthly charge for the blue tick as well as a number of other features.
Accounts with checkmarks that pre-dated Musk’s takeover, known as “legacy accounts”, were given the option to pay for the subscription.
This follows the rollout or risk of losing their check mark, which was originally introduced to prevent the impersonation of public figures.
After pushing back the deadline of April 1 to sign up several times, Twitter began removing checkmarks from thousands of legacy accounts on Thursday.
This included prominent figures such as Pope Francis, Bill Gates and Kim Kardashian.
Prominent organisations including Human Rights Watch and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also lost their checkmarks.
Many have explained their decision to not subscribe to Twitter Blue.
Some celebrities explained on the social media platform as to why they had retained their checkmark without paying.
One of them is Stephen King who is an author, “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t,” he explained.
Many government agencies, nonprofits and public-service accounts also lost the checkmarks.
This raised concerns about how the public will be able to distinguish official channels of information from other accounts during public events or emergencies.
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