Elon Musk had proposed removing all blue check marks from Twitter unless Hollywood stars, professional athletes, business leaders, authors, and journalists began purchasing a monthly subscription to the social media service. Musk’s intention was to shift the advertising-dependent platform, which he bought for $44 billion last year, into a pay-to-play model, potentially antagonizing enemies and fellow elites in the process. However, the Saturday deadline came and went, and the blue check marks remained, with many now carrying a disclaimer indicating they may have been paid for, but Twitter did not respond when asked to clarify its changing policies. Twitter began appending a new message to profiles instead of removing the blue check marks, stating that “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter blue or is a legacy verified account.” Twitter users can pay between $8 and $11 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription, so anyone with a blue check mark could have purchased one, and there is no way to tell the difference. Twitter did remove at least one verified check over the weekend, however, from the main account of the New York Times, following the company’s public statement that they had no intention of paying a monthly fee for check-mark status, at which point Musk also criticized their reporting.

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