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Pope loses verified status on Twitter, American basketball star LeBron James remains




April 20 (Reuters) – Twitter began removing old blue ticks from user profiles on Thursday, with famous people including pop icon Beyonce and Pope Francis losing their verified statuses.

Some personalities such as basketball star LeBron James and author Stephen King still had their chins.

“The Shining” author King, who previously called Musk a terrible fit for Twitter, tweeted: “My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t. My Twitter account says I’ve provided a phone number . I have not.”

Musk tweeted back at him: “Welcome, namaste” with a folded emoji.

The Verge reported that James, who has previously said he would not pay for verification, had not paid to keep the chin.

Musk tweeted separately: “I pay for someone personally.” and later tweeted “Just Shatner, LeBron and King,” referring to Star Trek actor William Shatner, who last month had complained about being forced to pay to keep the blue badge.

Among those who lost their brands were former US President Donald Trump, Microsoft Corp ( MSFT.O ) co-founder Bill Gates and reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

Under Musk’s ownership, Twitter has changed how it hands out the coveted blue ticks previously given to celebrities, journalists, executives, politicians and establishments after verifying their identities. They served as a sign of authenticity.

Musk said in November that Twitter would begin charging $8 per month for the brand in an effort to launch new revenue streams beyond advertising.

The company later offered chin badges in other colors – gold for businesses and a gray for governmental and multilateral organizations and officials.

It has also started displaying labels such as “government-affiliated” and “automated by” against accounts to show when an account is linked to a government or is a bot.

The American non-profit National Public Radio (NPR) stopped posting content on its 52 official Twitter feeds after Twitter called it “state-affiliated media” and later “government-funded media”.

The public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) also suspended its activities on Twitter and sparred with Musk about Twitter’s definition of government-funded.

Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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