Twitter faces backlash over new Twitter Blue paid verification system

1 min read
Twitter faces backlash over new Twitter Blue paid verification system

Twitter Blue’s new paid verification system is causing waves among prominent users, including NBA superstar LeBron James. On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted that he won’t be paying for the coveted blue check mark to verify his identity on the platform.

In response to Twitter’s announcement last month that it would start phasing out the feature for previously verified accounts, James wrote, “Welp guess my blue [check] … will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5.”

Previously, blue check marks were available to some individuals for free as part of Twitter’s efforts to combat impersonators and misinformation. However, under the leadership of billionaire owner Elon Musk, the social media site has now made the feature part of its Twitter Blue subscription service, which starts at $8 per month on the web or $11 per month on iOS (previously it was just $2.99/mo as the time of rolling out in the US and New Zealand, later it raised by $2).

James’ post quickly went viral, sparking a growing backlash against the paid system. Some users have even suggested that Musk could declare the whole thing an April Fools’ Day gag.

Others, such as “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander, have tweeted to quit the platform if their check mark is removed. Monica Lewinsky, meanwhile, has questioned the fairness of the system, pointing out that it can have real-world consequences for people who are impersonated.

The backlash against Twitter Blue isn’t limited to celebrities and public figures. Axios reported on Friday that President Joe Biden’s White House has also declined to pay for staffers’ accounts to be verified, as have several major news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, HuffPost and Politico.

As Twitter faces mounting criticism over its new paid verification system, it remains to be seen whether the company will make any changes in response to user feedback. In the meantime, LeBron James and others seem determined to stick to their guns and refuse to pay for the blue check mark.