Twitter giveth and Twitter taketh away.
On April 19, the social media giant announced that it would be "removing legacy verified checkmarks" the next day and only Twitter users who subscribed to Twitter Blue at US$8 (S$10.60) a month could have the blue tick next to their names.
In the past, celebrities and other public figures had to undergo a verification process to ensure their identities to gain the checkmark, which all changed when Elon Musk took over as Twitter CEO and implemented the Twitter Blue subscription service.
One account that didn't get the memo — or simply could not be bothered to fork out the money — was the K-pop group BTS, at least on their personal @bts_twt account.
@BTS_jp_official and @BTS_bighit, accounts used for official updates, are shown to have subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Fans took the removal of the blue tick in stride, with jokes abound.
"[I bet] $100 on the fact that the blue check mark won't reappear because they've deleted the app and won't pay for Twitter Blue," tweeted a fan.
While BTS is active on Twitter — the last tweet from the account came on April 18 — the group's preferred social media site is Weverse, created by entertainment company Hybe Corporation which also manages the band.
"BTS when they realise they gotta pay $8 monthly for a blue tick when they could have gotten ramen instead," tweeted another fan with a video of the idols appearing shocked and clapping in slow motion.
"Y'all please buy BTS albums, they're going shirtless day by day and now they have to pay for the blue tick on Twitter. Help them," joked another fan.
Other K-pop groups who have lost their blue ticks include SHINee, Super Junior, Monsta X, Itzy and Ateez. The accounts for groups such as Enhypen and NCT have gold ticks instead and are referred to as "official organisations" on Twitter.
It's not just K-pop idols who aren't paying for their blue ticks. According to a report by Mashable, less than 5 per cent of over 420,000 legacy verified accounts are subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Musicians such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and The Weeknd and actors Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris seem to have paid for the subscription.
But not everyone was so forthcoming with their money.
Actress Halle Berry quoted Twitter Verified's official announcement and wrote: "Me joining you all tomorrow unverified" accompanied by a video of her walking onto a talk show.
The 56-year-old also shared a meme of Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory mourning the loss of her blue tick.
Twitter initially reported that they would be "winding down our legacy verified programme" starting April 1, and actress Chrissy Teigen tweeted on March 31: "Going to bed tonight with my checkmark husband, knowing it will all be over by morning."
A fan responded, "Would you divorce John [Legend] if he bought a checkmark?" to which the 37-year-old joked: "Oh my god, I dried up just thinking about it."
oh my god I dried up just thinking about it— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) April 1, 2023
Chrissy and her husband John now have accounts sans blue ticks.
"No blue check, still feels like me," actor Ben Stiller tweeted.
No blue check, still feel like me.— Ben Stiller (@BenStiller) April 20, 2023
Previously, basketball player LeBron James, Star Trek actor William Shatner and novelist Stephen King were among those who raised concerns about having to pay for Twitter Blue.
"Hey Elon Musk, what's this about the blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter? I've been here for 15 years giving my time and witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you're telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free?" wrote William, 92.
"It's more about treating everyone equally. There shouldn't be a different standard for celebrities in my opinion," Elon, 51, responded.
That would be wonderful in a perfect 🌎 where equality thrives. Yet that’s not reality, is it? Somewhere, Twitter lost its way. Blue ☑️s were guardrails to legitimacy; not meaningless status symbols. Twitter does 🚫 to stop a @WlLLlAMSHATNER (4 Ls)from being verified with a 💳… https://t.co/eEuWoRaM06— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) March 28, 2023
It appears that the three aforementioned celebs are now subscribed to Twitter Blue, but Stephen, 75, tweeted: "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."
My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 20, 2023
My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.
So what gives?
Elon Musk tweeted earlier today: "I'm paying for a few [subscriptions] personally," which reports have confirmed to be the case for the LeBron, William and Stephen.
One Twitter user responded: "So much for equal treatment."
So much for "equal treatment".— Jesse (@JesseFrom612) April 20, 2023
No part of this article can be reproduced without permission from AsiaOne.