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Twitter users including Justin Bieber, Bill Gates, and Kim Kardashian are seeing their blue checkmarks disappear as Elon Musk charges $8 a month for verified accounts

Elon Musk in 2020Elon Musk’s Twitter had said it would remove blue legacy checkmarks on April 20.

Yasin Ozturk/Getty Images

  • Twitter appeared to start removing legacy blue checkmarks from many accounts on Thursday.
  • Figures like Bill Gates, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez saw their verification badges disappear. 
  • Twitter has said individual users will need to start paying $8 per month for verification.

Some Twitter users are watching their legacy blue checkmarks disappear from their accounts as Elon Musk implements an $8 monthly subscription program.

Twitter said it was culling free blue ticks on Thursday from users who became verified on the platform before Musk acquired the company in late October. These users were often celebrities, journalists, and politicians, which Twitter independently verified.

Notable business figures including Bill Gates, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, and “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran no longer showed blue checkmarks on their Twitter accounts Thursday afternoon. Among celebrities, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner appear to have lost verification.

American rapper Doja Cat, who was no longer verified, tweeted that users with blue checkmarks meant there was a higher chance they were “a complete loser” and “desperate for validation from famous people.”

Thursday happens to be 4/20, an unofficial holiday for cannabis smokers. Musk has previously used the number 420 in his business moves, including in his 2018 tweet about considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share.

The only way users can keep their blue checkmarks is to sign up to Twitter Blue, a subscription program that costs $8 a month. The program was introduced after Musk took over Twitter.

Musk has criticized the legacy version of Twitter’s verification system, calling it a “lords & peasants” system and “deeply corrupted.”

Twitter Blue has sparked controversy since it was rolled out. The feature allows any Twitter user to pay for a verified blue checkmark. After its launch, trolls used Twitter Blue to impersonate politicians, companies, and other high-profile accounts.

Impersonators made fake accounts for US Senator Ted Cruz, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, McDonald’s, Nintendo, and Tesla.

Companies and organizations can remain verified by paying a $1,000 subscription every month. Businesses have slammed Musk for the paid program. William LeGate, cofounder of Pillow-Fight, told Insider the $1,000 feature was “outlandish” and “meaningless.”

Read the original article on Business Insider