Twitter s blue checkmark has been returned for prominent users.
Twitter tweet / Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Some Twitter accounts with more than one million followers have had their blue tick badges re-instated by Twitter without paying to subscribe.
Beyoncé, Harry Kane, Richard Osman and Victoria Beckham are among those to have their blue tick back.
The BBC News Twitter account also has its gold badge again but has not paid for it.
Before the platform was bought by Elon Musk, the blue tick was a badge of verification given for free by Twitter.
It was originally used as a tool of authentication, designed to help stop fake accounts and the spread of misinformation.
Now it is a symbol that an account has subscribed to a premium service called Twitter Blue – and there is a verification process attached with making the payment.
There are various prices depending on where the subscription is made but it is around $8 per month.
Those with a blue tick from the original verification process, who decided not to pay the subscription fee, began losing their ticks on 20 April.
The broadcaster James O’Brien, who has 1.1m followers, is one of those who has now got his blue tick back after losing it. He confirmed that he had not paid for his account.
He also noted that some accounts with fewer than 1m followers also appeared to have had their blue ticks restored, “anointed entirely at Elon Musk’s discretion”.
Eliot Higgins, who founded the organisation of the investigation Bellingcat, confirmed to me on Friday that his blue tick, and Bellingcat’s verification, had been given to him for free.
Mr Musk has claimed that he paid for the subscriptions himself on behalf of the author Stephen King, the actor William Shatner and the basketball player Lebron James who had all criticised the scheme.
At the time of writing, some celebrities like actor Ryan Reynolds who also owns Wrexham football club, still has no blue tick despite having over 21m followers.
It was reported that the removal of the legacy blue ticks had to be done manually so it is possible that this is also a manual process which will continue over the coming days.
Twitter Blue has had a troubled launch. It was initially delayed after fake accounts sprung up pretending to be official organisations, and in recent weeks both subscribers and formerly verified accounts have looked the same.
Subscribers’ tweets have higher visibility, individual posts can be longer, and they will see fewer ads.
Elon Musk has previously said that the firm’s finances were in dire straits when he took over and that Twitter was operating at a loss of $4m per day.
Twitter has not revealed how many people have chosen to subscribe so far but the app firm Sensor Tower estimated to TechCrunch that the platform had around 386,000 subscribers in March 2023.
This does not include subscriptions made on Twitter’s website rather than within its app but is still a small fraction of its roughly 300 million user-base.