Elon Musk Says He’s Paying for LeBron James, Stephen King, and William Shatner Twitter’s blue checks

Elon Musk has announced on April 20 that he will bear the subscription costs of blue checks, which were previously declined by public figures such as LeBron James, William Shatner and Stephen King.

Users who still possess a verification badge on Twitter are now required to pay for the premium version of the app, known as Twitter Blue, as the CEO has removed the unpaid ‘legacy’ blue checks from the platform.

On April 20, Stephen King took to Twitter to declare that the information listed on his profile was incorrect, and that he had not subscribed or verified his account with a phone number. In response, Elon Musk tweeted, “You’re welcome namaste,” hinting that he had paid for King’s verification.

Musk tweeted separately: “I’m paying for a few personally.” and later tweeted “Just Shatner, LeBron and King,” referring to Star Trek actor William Shatner, who had last month complained about being forced to pay to keep his blue checkmark.

Out of the 50 most-followed accounts on Twitter, only seven users currently possess verification badges, apart from Musk and Barack Obama who have affiliate blue checks linked to official organizations. These verified accounts belong to Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, LeBron James, Jimmy Fallon, and Miley Cyrus.

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The removal of verification status on Twitter has occurred within weeks of a leaked memo from Musk, where he stated that the social media platform’s value had dropped drastically, now worth less than half of the $44 billion he had paid for it. Additionally, Musk had to lay off a majority of the company’s employees, resulting in a significant reduction from 7,500 to 2,000 staff in December.