Celebrities and owners of high-profile Twitter accounts have insisted they will not pay for the blue verified check marks that have reappeared on their profiles.
Many public figures have distanced themselves from verification on Twitter since the platform owned by billionaire Elon Musk announced that legacy blue ticks would be removed from the site on April 20 – leaving only those who had paid for a subscription.
Hashtags such as #BlockTheBlueChecks have trended on Twitter in the backlash, while several celebrities have decided to leave the platform – including The Last Of Us actors Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.
On Saturday evening, some profiles had their verified status reinstated without payment.
Actor Sir Ian McKellen tweeted: “Despite the implication when you click the blue badge that has mysteriously re-appeared beside my name, I am not paying for the ‘honour’.”
According to many reports the blue check marks have been reinstated only to accounts with a million followers or more, including tennis player Sir Andy Murray.
“My blue tick has reappeared. For free… some game,” Sir Andy posted.
In what appeared to be a deliberate move by Mr Musk, some Twitter accounts which led the way in pushing hashtags such as #BlockTheBlue have also had a blue tick added to their profile – including journalist Matt Binder, who has just over 140,000 followers.
“Elon Musk actually did it,” he tweeted, sharing an image of his check mark.
Musk had tweeted two hours beforehand: “Check mate.”
Many celebrities seemed displeased that their verified check mark had reappeared and targeted their incredulity at Mr Musk, including rapper and singer Lil Nas X.
“On my soul I didn’t pay for Twitter blue, u will feel my wrath tesla man!” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, comedian Dara O Briain, who was not verified before the blue tick cull on April 20 but has 2.6 million followers, also received one and shared his confusion on Sunday morning.
“So, despite never ever actually having had a blue tick, (I liked the idea that I might have been a parody account all this time) I wake up this morning to find I have been given one,” he tweeted.
“That is peculiar. No, I haven’t paid, nor requested it. Can I get into nightclubs now?”
Some celebrities have felt so averse to being verified on Twitter that they made changes to their profiles so their blue ticks would be automatically removed.
Parodying an advert for household cleaning product Cillit Bang, comedian Charlie Brooker tweeted: “Hi, I’m Barry Scott. Blue tick reappeared?
“Change your name, then change it back. BANG! And the mark is gone.”