Elon Musk giving an awkward thumbs up at the Axel Springer Award ceremony in 2020

Elon Musk Is Giving Out Free Blue Check Marks Even Though No One Wants Them

On April 4, many X users woke up to discover a blue check mark had appeared by their names. Elon Musk is giving free blue check marks and premium subscriptions to accounts with large followings, even if they don’t want them.

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It seems Musk is doing damage control after completely ruining the whole concept of blue check marks when he acquired Twitter and turned it into X. The billionaire Tesla CEO completed his acquisition of Twitter in late 2022, and to say it has gone downhill since then is an understatement. While he initially said he wanted to enforce “free speech” on the platform, his real goal was to cater to the far-right. Shortly after the acquisition was finished, he began reinstating far-right and problematic users who had been previously banned from X for spreading misinformation and other harmful content. He even recently welcomed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones back to the platform.

On top of that, he decided to strip all users of their blue verification check marks and require them to pay $8 per month to get one. On social media, verification check marks are usually used to denote prominent accounts, giving users confirmation that the account is legitimate and not someone impersonating a public figure. Usually, these marks are free and can be applied for by celebrities, brands, journalists, and other public figures who merely have to provide proof of their identity. Turning verification check marks into a subscription that anyone could access defeats the whole point. It turns especially problematic when right-wing extremists are using these checkmarks to pretend to be important and extend their reach while spreading hate and misinformation.

Hence, users were not thrilled when they realized they had unwittingly joined the blue-check crowd alongside a bunch of neo-Nazis and incels.

Why are X users suddenly getting blue check marks?

There was quite a stir on X when many non-paying users suddenly noticed blue check marks had appeared by their names. After all, anyone who doesn’t follow Musk’s X account would likely have missed the announcement. On March 27, he published a brief post stating that all X accounts with over 2,500 subscriber followers will get Premium features for free, while those with over 5,000 will get Premium+ for free. However, he did not confirm when it would go into effect, resulting in many surprise reactions to the sudden blue check marks.

Since only Premium is needed to qualify for the blue check mark, nearly every major account received one overnight. Understandably, though, users were less than thrilled about the change. When Musk acquired X, countless users abandoned the platform for good. Still, many remained because they had spent years building up a large following or because it was their primary form of communication with their followers. Those who remained were adamant they would not join the blue checkmark community, as they refused to give one cent to Musk’s X. Even though it made it more difficult for followers to determine the legitimacy of their accounts, they felt it was more important that they highlight their lack of support for Musk with the absence of a checkmark.

Musk should have realized it wouldn’t be a good idea to give these users check marks without notice and risk others making the assumption that these users are paying subscribers. Before learning how to hide the check marks, many users were forced to make posts emphasizing that they did not pay for the check marks and telling Musk, in no uncertain terms, that they did not want his free blue check mark.

It seems Musk is finally admitting that his blue check mark subscription idea was ridiculous and is now trying to revert back to the original concept where influential accounts received check marks for free. However, these marks didn’t require an identity check, and paying subscribers can still get the check mark, too, so the new policy really does nothing. It doesn’t verify the identity of an account holder and only creates confusion about whether an account is one of Musk’s minions or just someone who was slapped with a check mark without notice.

Fortunately, even before this development, Musk created the feature to hide blue check marks so that users could essentially pay $8/month to turn their check marks off. Users who don’t want the check mark can go to “settings,” click on their new Premium subscription, go to “profile customization,” and turn off the blue check mark. If Musk somehow thought this new change would make X better, he was badly mistaken, as it only led to everyone showing their disdain for his ridiculous check marks before immediately hiding them.

(featured image: Pool / Getty)


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Author
Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.