Celebrities warn of imposters as Twitter blue tick deadline looms

Ticked off stars refuse to pay $8 to maintain 'verified' status

Karl Urban, who plays the role of 'Bones', poses on arrival for the Los Angeles premiere of the movie 'Star Trek Into Darkness" in Hollywood, California on May 14, 2013. The film opens nationwide on May 15. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN
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Celebrities on Twitter, many of them with huge followings, are warning their followers about impersonators as the deadline for the verified blue tick looms.

From Saturday, Twitter will begin removing the cherished blue tick from accounts that have not subscribed. The move is part of owner Elon Musk's plans to generate income for the platform.

In the US, the subscription plan, known as Twitter Blue, costs $8 a month or $84 a year, or $11 a month if bought through Apple's app store.

But some celebrities are simply not buying it.

New Zealand actor and The Boys star Karl Urban warned his followers about "imposters and money soliciting scams".

"Hey y’all, I’ll lose the blue tick on Saturday. I’m opposed to spending money on social media. I’ll go checkless. Please be careful of imposters and money-soliciting scams. I will never ask you for money on any social media platform," he said.

Other famous users, such as basketball star LeBron James, also refused to pay for the blue check.

"Welp guess my blue will be gone soon 'cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5," James tweeted.

NFL star Patrick Mahomes is also not forking out the cash, joking that he has children to take care of.

Mahomes tweeted earlier asking when they were taking away his blue check mark. When someone pointed out to him that he will have to pay the $8 for it, Mahomes II replied: "Can’t bro I got kids."

Last week, Star Trek alumni William Shatner called the move by Musk a "money grab".

"Hey @elonmusk what’s this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter? I’ve been here for 15 years giving my witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you’re telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free?" Shatner asked.

Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander said he was leaving if he were to lose the verified status.

"Friends, there are bigger issues in the world than the blue verified next to my name on this account. But without it, anyone can allege to be me. So, if I lose that know I will leave this platform. Anyone appearing with it is an imposter. I tell you this while I’m still official," he wrote.

Impersonation is a concern of many famous users as anyone who pays a subscription can now have a verified blue tick.

Activist and writer Monica Lewinsky shared screenshots to show what happens when you search her name on Twitter, including the shot of what looks like a man with her name and a verified account.

"In what universe is this fair to people who can suffer consequences for being impersonated? A lie travels halfway around the world before the truth even gets out the door," she shared.

On Saturday, Musk defended his controversial model for Twitter, saying that social media platforms not following suit would be swarmed by bots, resulting in failure.

"The fundamental challenge here is that it's [easy] to create literally 10,000 or 100,000 fake Twitter accounts using just one computer at home and with modern AI," Musk said in a Q&A session on Twitter.

"That's the reason for really pressing hard on verified where the verified requires a number from a reputable phone carrier and a credit card. My prediction is that any so-called social media network that doesn't do this will fail."

Updated: April 01, 2023, 11:56 AM