On Thursday, Twitter finally made good on its promise to remove the certified blue checkmark from accounts that were not paying for its Twitter Blue service at $8 a month. As it turns out, three accounts that didn't pay for Twitter Blue kept their blue checkmark, and it's all due to Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
Those three accounts belong to best-selling writer Stephen King, NBA basketball star LeBron James, and the star of the 1980s cop show T.J. Hooker, William Shatner. King mentioned that he had not paid for Twitter Blue in a post, but still had his checkmark, and Musk replied to that message with, "You’re welcome namaste.". He later clarified that he was only paying for King, James, and Shatner's blue checkmark.
So why would Musk pay out of his pocket to have these three particular accounts keep their verification marks? That remains unclear. It's even odder for Musk to pay for King's checkmark. King has been very vocal about his feelings about Musk taking over Twitter in 2022, posting at one point that while he did think Musk was a "visionary" with his running of the Tesla car company, "he’s been a terrible fit for Twitter. He appears to be making it up as he goes along."
There's no word on how many people have paid so far for Twitter Blue, which does offer more features than just that blue checkmark. In fact, we may never really know, since it is now a private company under Musk's ownership.