Elon Musk, the chief tweeter of Twitter, has kept his promise last week to remove Twitter accounts’ blue ticks for legacy verification. Now many high-profile Twitter accounts appear to have been re verified — including some dead celebrities.
The re-appearance is likely part of an unannounced (but larger) Twitter scheme to restore verification for users who have more than one million followers. Twitter says that dead celebrities’ accounts are verified because they have subscribed to Twitter Blue, verified their phone numbers and have been verified.
Michael Jackson, Chadwick Bosseman, Kobe Bryant and Barbara Walters are among the deceased celebrities who have been able to regain their verification status. Even the platform claims that a prominent columnist and journalist Jamal Khashoggi pays $8 per month, despite being murdered in 2018.Twitter’s UI says that Kobe Bryant has died, but his account has been verified by their phone number.
It is a standard message from the company, but it seems inappropriate to use it in this context. It’s possible that in some cases, the organizations who manage the accounts of dead users have requested verification. For example, Bosewick’s Twitter account mainly retweets the Chadwick Boseman Foundation for the Arts. Many of the accounts that are being re-verified were dormant years ago.
It is also unkind to verify accounts after the user has passed away, as blue ticks have become a status that some people dislike. Celebrities like LeBron James, Stephen King and others have stated that they would not pay for verification status. Musk paid for the ticks himself, which undermines his claim of paid verification being egalitarian. It also antagonizes high-profile users who create value for his site.
Some users noted that the restoration of blue ticks on the accounts for dead celebrities gives an unwarranted boost to the new paid-for verification system. noted that Dril, a popular user (who was fighting Twitter to remove his blue tick), had tweeted “its ok because he fired those in charge who told him it was illegal”.
It’s all business as usual for Twitter, whether it is verified or not.