Elon Musk weighs in on campaign to block Twitter accounts that still have blue check mark after legacy purge

April 22, 2023, 7:59 PM UTC
Twitter CEO Elon Musk has finally purged the legacy blue checks as promised. Here, he talks to advertisers at a marketing conference in Miami on April 18, 2023.

Elon Musk is aware of BlockTheBlue, and he’s not a fan. The movement calls for Twitter users to block any account that still has a blue check mark. 

This week, blue check marks that had been granted for free to celebrities, politicians, and others before Musk took over the platform began to disappear in earnest. Musk had tweeted on April 11, “Final date for removing legacy Blue checks is 4/20.”

Now, the check mark likely means that a user is paying a monthly fee for the Twitter Blue subscription service, which includes the mark and host of other advantages over non-paid accounts. The legacy purge makes those paying for the check mark easier to identify and block, which many users are now doing, as the BlockTheBlue campaign urges.

On Saturday, Musk replied to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney’s criticism of the BlockTheBlue movement with a simple “Exactly.” Sweeney had written:

“People in this #BlockTheBlue pressure campaign are losers and goons. They’re the cool kids from junior high who worked to exclude we nerds from cool kid events, plus the losers who joined in to gain cred. The elite-only verification system sucked, been criticizing it since 2018.”

Sweeney added: “An online community like this should be a meritocracy, where everyone has an equal chance, and merit is earned rather than anointed by a corporation. Old school Twitter had found a great expression of merit with following & retweeting. The best rose to the top.”

Musk’s agreement with Sweeney’s take followed Twitter suspending the @BlockTheBlue account. Travis Brown, who’s been tracking the Twitter Blue effort under Musk, tweeted on Friday, “Elon apparently finally called in the hit on @BlockTheBlue.” 

The BlockTheBlue account, according to Mashable, had been run by the creator of an automated account blocking app that ceased operating due to Twitter starting to charge heavily for the once-free access to its application programming interface, or API (the software “middleman” allowing two applications to talk to each other).

Fortune reached out to Twitter for comments but received no immediate reply. 

Some Twitter users have hailed the legacy purge, while some notable celebrities, including Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander, have said they’re leaving the platform because of it. Alexander had warned upon leaving on Friday, “Anyone who posts as me is an imposter.”

Alexander, however, popped back into Twitter on Saturday to note that someone else has restored his check mark, despite him paying nothing. “Friends told me my blue verified check was restored,” he tweeted. “Dont know why. I’ve paid nothing. I gave no number.” 

Novelist Stephen King reported a similar experience. On Thursday evening, Musk tweeted he was personally paying for a few celebrities’ check marks, though he said at the time it was only for King, NBA legend LeBron James, and Star Trek actor William Shatner. 

King had tweeted on Thursday: “My Twitter  account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t.” On Saturday, he added: “I think Mr. Musk should give my blue check to charity.”

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