Elon Musk is no stranger to controversy, and his recent fiasco with Twitter’s verification system is the latest example.
As the new CEO of Twitter, Musk has made some big changes to the social media platform. Most recently, Musk announced Twitter users will have to pay $8/month, and some companies will have to pay $1,000/month, to keep their blue check marks – a decision that thousands of people have criticized.
For those unfamiliar with Twitter’s verification system, it’s designed to help users identify the authenticity of high-profile accounts. Verified accounts are marked with a blue checkmark, indicating that they are in fact the real social media accounts of public figures, celebrities, and other influential individuals. Previously, the process of obtaining verification required users to provide a government-issued ID and other supporting documentation.
As news is spreading that Musk has actually been playing favorites by choosing some celebrities to keep their blue check mark for free, Twitter users are up in arms once again. When novelist Stephen King, NBA star LeBron James, and actor William Shatner noticed that they still had their blue check marks, they were quick to let everyone know they didn’t actually pay for it.
Stephen King tweeted, “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.”
Meanwhile, before this debacle even began, LeBron James had previously tweeted, “Welp guess my blue ✓ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5.”
In response to the controversy, Musk stated that he’s paying “a few” subscriptions personally, including the accounts belonging to King, James, and Shatner.
Musk’s decision to bend the rules for these celebrities is not only questionable, it may even land him in court. Since there are federal laws prohibiting false advertising or endorsement, and state laws against unfair competition claims, Musk may soon find himself in the hot seat.