The day has finally come when everyone who has a legacy blue checkmark the verification for celebrities, corporations, journalists, and other notable people in the arts and business to lose their blue checks on Twitter. The time was when a blue check meant that someone was verified and trustworthy. They had to go through a process to prove who they were. If they claimed to be Patton Oswalt, they were Patton Oswalt. It protected Twitter users from scams, fraud, and fake news.
Because CEO Elon Musk has the sense of humor of a fifth grader who got held back several times, April 1., aka April Fools Day, was the day he claimed would be the blue check apocalypse, and then after a weak chuckle and yelling, “Sike!”, the South African rocket boy announced that April 20 would be the big day. People on Twitter discovered afterward that the process was much more complex than first thought and would likely be very tough to accomplish with Twitter's radically reduced workforce.
April 20 is also known as 420, when people who like to smoke marijuana celebrate their drug of choice. Elon Musk uses memes, most of which he takes from others without attribution. Musk references numbers like 69 and 420 for clout, even though he is a 51-year-old father of ten, CEO of three companies, and founder of six.
Again, he decided to make the deadline a celebrated day, so opinions were split on whether he was serious this time and could have his workers finish it on time.
I can’t believe this is real:
Elon Musk Smoking Joe Rogan’s Weed Somehow Ended Up Costing Taxpayers $5 Million https://t.co/YCcGl7va7v via @gizmodo
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) October 17, 2019
Even though Musk claims to be a 420 fan, he took away the blue check of actor Kal Penn, one of the stars of one of the most revered stoner classic films, Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle. Not cool, dude.
Lost my checkmark the one day of the year my credibility actually matters. pic.twitter.com/Zid5cmp2PK
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) April 20, 2023
This Is The Day Your Life Will Surely Change
The day dawned on Twitter, people started noticing their blue checks disappearing, and the hilarious uproar began. The strangest thing is that the blue checks started disappearing and reappearing under certain circumstances. Writer Lilly Dancyger compared the phenomenon to Tinker Bell in Peter Pan.
The legacy checks are flickering on and off like Tinker Bell dying
— Lilly Dancyger (@lillydancyger) April 20, 2023
Writer and podcaster Ryan Broderick and Texas Observer special investigative correspondent Steven Monacelli documented it via video and photos. It really is like a flickering light.
This app is so great https://t.co/m7pqdGY0wW pic.twitter.com/q44IqJ0Aw1
— steven monacelli 🆓 (@stevanzetti) April 20, 2023
Fear and Loathing on The Internet
Author A.R. Moxon paraphrased a quote from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was appropriate for the situation.
we were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the blue checks began to disappear
— A.R. Moxon (@JuliusGoat) April 20, 2023
Hide and Go Tweet
Writer and content strategist Jeff Veillette believed that because of the glitching, it is likely that the checks weren't removed at all. His theory is that Twitter uses a CSS filter to hide them. He also thinks it is being done so that if the decision is reversed, which it possibly will be, it will be easier than taking the checks away and then adding them again.
Based on how this is glitching, and how the popup now has the old description, looks like Twitter's plan for the de-checkmarking is to keep the legacies as verified in the system, but use CSS to hide it? Whoever's in charge 100% knows there's going to be a backpedal at some point pic.twitter.com/xCRQ2YawW9
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) April 20, 2023
That Will Show Those Elites Who's Boss, I Guess
Now that the blue checks have been “taken away,” the people demanding that the “elites” lose their status symbol are unhappy that the blue checkmark no longer has the same value. Writer and director Don Waynos observed, “It's very funny that for years these nerds wanted to get checkmarks and also wanted celebrities to lose them. Now that their wishes have been granted, they're unhappy because only nerds have checkmarks.”
It's very funny that for years these nerds wanted to get checkmarks and also wanted celebrities to lose their checkmarks. Now that their wishes have been granted they're unhappy because only nerds have checkmarks. pic.twitter.com/CFNmsyUXvQ
— don (@donswaynos) April 21, 2023
Everyone Won't Be Famous for Fifteen Minutes
The people who are now angry Twitter Blue subscribers thought that the $8 would buy them the fame that makes them equal to musicians, actors, and professional athletes without achieving anything. They weren't mad because some users were getting better treatment. They're angry because they want to be famous, and the verification badge is now worthless, as user Hurt Copain noted.
Elon Musk always has some trick he likes to play, and as it turns out, he had another on 420. Stephen King, one of the most famous writers of the 20th Century, has been critical of Musk and his management of Twitter, so Musk “paid” for his blue check to remain on his account. King was unhappy and didn't want Twitter Blue, but Musk didn't care or get his consent.
It was a “gift” that led the venerable horror author to have random people mock him for “paying for Twitter Blue” when he didn't. Musk mockingly replied “Namaste” to King's tweet about it.
You’re welcome namaste 🙏
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
The CEO also verified that he was “paying” for Twitter Blue checks for King, Laker athlete LeBron James, and actor William Shatner, but he said nothing about whether or not he asked their permission first.
Why Pay To Create for Free?
TV writer and comedian Mike Drucker said, “Yeah, I feel like famous athletes and movie stars know they can afford $8. It's possible they just don't want to pay $8 for the privilege of getting to make free content and drive engagement to a website owned by a billionaire who openly hates them.”
Game journalist Ben Kuchera said Twitter had the “best influencer program” on the Internet. People used the website for free and created free content for the site that made it incredibly popular. Now that program has been destroyed by Elon Musk, all because he wanted Stephen King to write for his website for free.
Twitter had the best influencer program in the world. The company created an incentive structure where the most famous people on the planet created content on the site, daily, for free. Destroyed in one day because the new owner thought Stephen King should pay to write for him.
— Ben Kuchera (@BenKuchera) April 21, 2023
Money Can't Buy Everything
Entertainment journalist Katie Rife observed that the qualities that money can't buy are humor, personality, intelligence, and excitement. Those who can't buy that with their cash make them insanely angry.
Being smart or cool or interesting or funny are all things money can’t buy, and this drives losers with lots of money and no personality absolutely insane. Anyway—what’s going on on Twitter today?
— Katie Rife (@RifewithKatie) April 21, 2023
You Play Too Much
Still, the former blue checks don't seem that fussed about it and have reacted mainly by making fun of the new Twitter policy. Elon Musk, on the other hand, has had a rough 24 hours. Space X's Starship exploded over the Gulf of Mexico, Tesla's first-quarter earnings and stock price were down, and Elon Musk's net worth dropped by thirteen billion in one day.
A dramatic 24 hours for Elon Musk has slashed his fortune by almost $13 billion, his biggest wealth wipeout this year https://t.co/E4imsTZ28r
— Bloomberg Wealth (@wealth) April 20, 2023
Maybe spending all your time trying to pawn liberals on the Internet isn't the best use of the genius CEO's time? Is this a cautionary tale of sorts for vengeful meme lord billionaires? Who's to say?
This article was produced by Wealth of Geeks.
Dolores Quintana is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles. She has bylines at Fangoria, Alternative Press, Nightmarish Conjurings, Grammy.com/The Recording Academy, The Advocate, Buddyhead, Pocho.com, The Theatre @ Boston Court, The Mirror Media Group, What Now Media, We Like LA, and The Shudder Blog. She has a successful YouTube channel and podcast called Burnt Orange Dreams, where she interviews actors, writers, and directors.