In a surprising turn of events, Twitter has restored verification badges on several high-profile celebrity accounts with millions of followers, just days after the microblogging platform culled the legacy blue checkmarks for non-paying users.
The move assumes significance as Indian celebrities and top politicians from Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi lost verified blue ticks on their Twitter accounts this week after Elon Musk-led microblogging site started removing checkmark icons from accounts that did not pay a subscription fee.
The coveted blue ticks have now made a surprising comeback on accounts of these celebrities. Top cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli who lost the blue tick mark on their Twitter handles, have also got them back.
It was not immediately clear whether or not these accounts have paid for the verification.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah – who got the blue tick back on his Twitter handle – tweeted that he did not pay for it.
“Apparently I’ve paid for Twitter Blue & given them a phone number to verify except that I haven’t. Mr Musk are you paying for mine as well?” Abdullah tweeted.
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai took to Twitter to express her surprise and delight at getting the blue tick reinstated.
“I don’t know what happened but I’m happy to have my blue tick back so everyone knows I am still Malala,” she tweeted.
While there is no official word from Twitter on the reinstated blue ticks, the company is reportedly restoring the verified status for accounts with high follower count.
In fact, accounts of some global celebrities who are no more, like Chadwick Boseman, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson, too have got the blue tick back.
Earlier this week, Twitter began 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. This led some of the biggest and most popular names losing the blue tick mark on their Twitter handles.
However, a few high-profile personalities including American author Stephen King, US professional basketball player LeBron James and legendary actor William Shatner, ended up retaining their blue tick as Musk announced he will personally pay for these accounts.