After Elon Musk made good on his promise last week to remove the legacy blue checkmarks on Twitter accounts, it now appears that many high-profile accounts – including some deceased celebrities – have been re-verified.
The reappearance of their blue ticks is likely part of a broader (but unannounced) Twitter plan to restore verification for users with more than 1 million followers. But hover over the blue check mark for a deceased celebrity’s account, and Twitter will tell you they’re verified “because they subscribed to TwitterBlue and verified their phone number.”
Michael Jackson, Chadwick Boseman, Kobe Bryant, Barbara Walters, Anthony Bourdain, and Paul Walker, are just a few of the many deceased celebrities whose identity verification has been restored. Twitter even claimed that the well-known journalist and columnist Jamal Khashoggi is still paying more than $8 a month despite having been murdered in 2018. In some cases, while many of the reverified accounts have been dormant for years, organizations managing accounts of deceased users may have indeed applied for verification, such as Bosewick’s account, which primarily retweets the Chadwick Boseman Foundation for the Arts.
It’s also inconsiderate to verify a user’s account posthumously, given that the blue tick has become an unwanted status for some. Many celebrities, such as Le Bon. James LeBron James and Stephen. Both Beijing and Stephen King said they would not pay to verify their identities. Instead, Musk pays for them himself – a move that both undermines his claim that paid verification is egalitarian and acts as a counterpoint to the high-profile users who add value to his site.
Some users also pointed out that reinstating the blue tick on the account of a deceased celebrity would also bring unwanted prestige to the new paid verification system. Popular user @Dril (who has also been fighting Twitter to get rid of his blue tick) noted: “It’s ok, he fired the guy responsible for telling him it was illegal” – quoting the Lanham Act Screenshot, false endorsement of goods and services in the United States is prohibited.
In other words, it’s business as normal for the new Twitter: chaos reigns, verified or not.