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- Several news outlets and high-profile Twitter users have said they don’t plan to pay for Twitter Blue.
- Twitter previously announced plans to begin removing “legacy” checks starting April 1.
- As of Saturday afternoon, the “legacy” checks appear to remain active across the platform.
A variety of news outlets, celebrities, athletes, and even the White House have said they don’t plan to pay for Twitter Blue once the platform’s “legacy” blue checks disappear.
Twitter said last week that it would be “winding down” the program, which Elon Musk previously called “deeply corrupted,” by removing the checks starting April 1. But as of Saturday afternoon, the old checks still were active, so their future is unclear.
A former Twitter employee posted a series of tweets Friday outlining why moving to all-paid verified accounts is risky, and how it could drive away some of platform’s biggest names who have posted for free for years.
Individuals can subscribe to Twitter Blue for $8 per month. Twitter has a separate program for businesses called Verified Organizations, which offers a gold check and the chance to be affiliated with other accounts associated with your business, for a whopping $1,000 per month.
That proposal reportedly was met with apprehension and criticism from businesses. Later, the New York Times reported an internal Twitter document that said the top 500 advertisers and 10,000 most-followed businesses would be able to keep their checks without shelling out the high fee.
Several news outlets have said they don’t plan to pay for the gold check. Others don’t plan to reimburse journalists who pay for Twitter Blue, largely saying that since blue checks only convey a user paid $8, they no longer provide the credibility they once did, according to CNN.
The cable news channel said it won’t be paying, and cited statements or internal memos from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico, BuzzFeed, Washington Post, and Vox that confirmed the outlets either wouldn’t pay for the gold check, or wouldn’t pay for staff to retain their blue checks.
Axios reported Friday that the White House informed staff it would not pay for individuals to retain their blue checks, likely meaning the Biden administration will send out information through its official government accounts that feature gray, non-paid checkmarks.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether plans to remove the checks had changed, as Elon Musk revised the company’s media communications policy last month.
As the perceived deadline for the disappearance of blue checks approached, public figures across sports, media, and entertainment all chimed in on whether they’d keep the check:
Notoriously frugal NBA superstar LeBron James said Friday afternoon he’d add it to the list of luxuries he does not indulge in, like ad-free music.
—LeBron James (@KingJames) March 31, 2023
Kansas City Chiefs star QB Patrick Mahomes has been a bit too busy celebrating his recent Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles apparently to know the latest Twitter news.
—Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) March 31, 2023
Philadelphia Eagle and Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay seemed relieved at the upcoming change, noting that angry fans might accidentally direct criticism at someone with a similar name when he makes a mistake.
—Darius Slay (@bigplay24slay) March 31, 2023
Jason Alexander, who famously portrayed George Costanza on the iconic sitcom “Seinfeld”, said earlier this week that he doesn’t plan to pay for Twitter, and that he likely will leave the platform once the checks are gone.
—jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) March 28, 2023
On a simpler note, actor and comedian Ben Stiller used what he assumed would be his last night with a blue check to enjoy a New York Knicks win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
—Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) April 1, 2023
Music legend Dionne Warwick has also said she will not pay for paid Twitter features in the past, and said again Friday evening that she has better uses for her money.
—Dionne Warwick (@dionnewarwick) March 31, 2023
Writer and podcaster Jemele Hill cited James’ tweet as an example of the paid-only checks driving big users away. She said she likely would follow suit.
—Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) March 31, 2023
Some journalists and others with legacy checks used what they assumed was their last night with the check to joke about joining non-verified Twitter, or by impersonating others and making jokes at their expense.
—David Mack (@davidmackau) March 31, 2023
—Rebecca Bitton (@rebeinstein) April 1, 2023