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Twitter has started the removal of legacy blue checkmarks from users on its platform, and already, the situation has delved into chaos. Marking the end of an era at the micro-blogging site, Twitter made good on the promise it made a while ago and ensured that numerous users lost their verified statuses.

These users include several high-profile individuals, such as Pope Francis himself, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Shah Rukh Khan, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and Kim Kardashian, famous TV personalities such as CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, and other public figures such as Bill Gates and former US president Donald Trump. Twitter had initially planned to enact the purge of the legacy verified checkmarks on April 1, but Musk later changed the date to April 20.

“#BlueCheckMark,” “Twitter Blue” and “Verified” trended on Twitter in the US, while several users reported seeing glitches on the platform while the removal process was underway. Now that the purge is over, Twitter describes verified accounts as “verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”

However, Twitter’s description of verified accounts is far from simple, considering that some legacy verified profiles continue to hold on to their check marks. The likes of basketball star LeBron James and best-selling author Stephen King continue to have the Blue Tick checkmarks on their accounts, even though neither of them expressed any intentions of subscribing to Twitter Blue to retain the checkmarks. King took to Twitter to clarify, “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.”

The situation was later cleared up in a tweet by Twitter Daily News (which has a Blue Tick), which announced that some celebrities had been offered a “complimentary” subscription to Twitter Blue on behalf of Elon Musk. The Twitter CEO confirmed the development in a tweet, informing that he was “paying for a few personally.” Musk replied, “You’re welcome namaste,” with a hands-folded emoji. For now, James, King, and Star Trek actor William Shatner (who complained earlier about being forced to pay to keep his blue checkmark) are being offered complimentary subscriptions to Twitter Blue. Rihanna and Taylor Swift have managed to hang onto their blue checks, but it has not been made clear if they are paying to keep them or have been offered “complimentary” subscriptions of their own.

This only highlights Musk’s desperation to cling onto some of the most prominent users of the platform, especially since many others have already left it, advertisers have jumped ship (though Musk claims that they have returned), and developers and enterprises like Microsoft have kicked it from their ad platforms.

The Blue Tick checkmarks once stood as a sign of integrity and legitimacy of the account – belonging to a group of elite Twitter users and confirming that the accounts were not fake. With the removal of the legacy verification badges and opening access to the Blue Tick to any who is willing to pay to get it, Twitter (and Musk) dramatically cratered the very value of the checkmark that once stood as a sign of prestige. Is it thus surprising that chaos reigns on the platform within a few hours of the disappearance of the checkmarks?

Negotiating Twitter is now traversing through a labyrinth in pitch darkness, where impersonators, ‘verified’ accounts, imposters, Musk fans, and the like have grown exponentially. Unsurprisingly, this can make impersonation and fraud all the more feasible. The days when Twitter used to operate as a legitimate public forum and a source of legitimate news, celebrity updates, or even customer services already seem like a long time ago.