Chief Minister Conrad Sangma was among the top politicians and celebrities who lost their verified blue ticks on their Twitter accounts after Elon Musk’s microblogging site started removing check mark icons from accounts that did not pay a subscription fee.
The Twitter handle of the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO, Meghalaya) too lost the verification.
Twitter has begun removing the check mark, which had for years meant that Twitter had verified the identity of the user behind an account, from the profiles of thousands of celebrities, politicians and journalists on Thursday.
The blue tick was considered something of a status symbol but under Musk, who bought Twitter for USD 44 billion in October, the social media service is now charging individuals a monthly fee of Rs 650 on the web and Rs 900 on mobile devices to maintain their verification status.
The microblogging platform also offers a discounted annual plan of Rs 6,800 per year.
Musk had previously stated that those who did not pay will lose their check marks.
Among those whose accounts no longer had blue tick was the Twitter handle of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has 27 million followers on the microblogging website. Rahul Gandhi with 23.3 million followers too lost his blue tick.
Several other chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh, Eknath Shinde of Maharashtra, M K Stalin of Tamil Nadu, and Nitish Kumar of Bihar, too lost their verified icons.
Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who has 38.6 million followers on Twitter, also lost the blue tick.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers as well as Twitter handles of political parties including BJP and Congress continued to display verified marks.
Congress president Malikarjun Kharge as well as BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda sported a grey checkmark, which indicates that an account represents a government/ multilateral organisation or a government/multilateral official.
Twitter introduced the blue check mark system in 2009 to help users identify that celebrities, politicians, companies and brands, news organisations and other accounts “of public interest” were genuine and not impostors or parody accounts. The company didn’t previously charge for verification.
Musk had initially proposed charging USD 20 monthly for verification, but later lowered it to USD 8 after blowback. He had previously stated that verified accounts would lose their badges in early April, but pruning has begun only now.
“Tomorrow, 4/20, we are removing legacy verified checkmarks,” the company said in a statement on Twitter. “To remain verified on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue.”
It also gave link for organisations to sign up for verified organisations.
Ever since acquiring Twitter, Musk has been grappling to revive the dwindling revenues of the platform. His push for subscription fee is seen as a step in this direction.
He had been critical of the previous management at Twitter that doled out free verification to journalists and other elites. He had pledged to eliminate what he called a “lords & peasants system” and to offer the blue badge to anyone willing to pay a fee. (With PTI inputs)
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