The social network also includes deceased celebrities within its system

Since Twitter started the process to remove the verification badges, many of the users who previously had access to these recognitions in their accounts to identify them as official publicly indicated that they would not pay for the Twitter Blue service to recover them. However, these became available again on many of them even though the owners claimed not to have subscribed to the paid version.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk himself explained in a post on his official social network account that he would be paying with his own money for the subscription of “some of them”. The specific cases (and the only ones, according to the billionaire) are LeBron James (basketball player), William Shatner (actor) and Stephen King (writer), although they replied that they would not pay to verify themselves.

According to some reports, James was reportedly contacted by a Twitter representative to offer him what he called a “complimentary subscription” on behalf of Elon Musk, which he declined. However, his profile maintains the badge and the information offered by the platform mentions that “this account is verified because it is subscribed to Twitter Blue”.

Similarly, all those accounts that were verified, without their consent, also reported that their phone numbers were verified. Stephen King posted a tweet in which he exposed that he did not provide his number to Twitter, but was still subscribed to the paid version without his knowledge. “You’re welcome,” was Musk’s response to this post.

The problem these celebrities have with the current verification goes beyond the $8 a month Twitter is asking for to keep the badges. This implies that they support the direction the company is taking under Musk’s leadership and were against his work as CEO of the social network.


Verification of deceased accounts

However, this is not the only source of controversy that Twitter is providing verification badges to people who do not want them without their consent. Users of the platform reported that the social network is unilaterally re-verifying famous or recognized people who have passed away regardless of whether the event occurred recently or a few years ago.

Figures such as Kobe Bryant, who passed away in 2020, as well as actor Chadwick Boseman, received a verification from Twitter Blue and the information on their accounts did not indicate that they had been replenished by Twitter, but that they had subscribed and even that their phone numbers had been verified.

These are not the only cases, as Barbara Walters (journalist) and John Lewis (political activist), who also died in 2020, received a Twitter Blue verification with the same notification: they subscribed to the service and their phone numbers were verified even though they have been dead for some years.

Even journalist Jamal Kashoggi, who was killed by Saudi Arabian government agents in 2018, got his verification badge back and commented on the same reasons: that he had paid for a subscription and that his cell phone number had been verified.

The exact reason that led Twitter to reinstate verification for these characters is not known, but there is speculation that it could be because the social network does not want other people to try to impersonate the identities of these celebrities.

Some users of the social network have already expressed their opposition to the current version of verification, as it was no longer a way to recognize prominent people and official accounts, but rather to identify customers of the social network who contract the service.

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