Why some Twitter accounts got back verification badge without paying

Twitter users whose accounts have more than one million followers have got back their verification badges, although it is still unclear what criteria were used.

This comes hours after the chaos was witnessed on the platform after the micro-blogging application ended the traditional verification to pave the way for a new regime on Twitter.

On Sunday morning, public figures, government agencies, and other platforms used by most members of the public woke up to find their blue badges reinstated.

Although the original communication by new Twitter CEO Elon Musk required users to pay for the verification badge, a number of users Tweeted on Sunday morning saying they had made no payments.

“I woke up to a blue checkmark again. I haven’t paid for Twitter Blue. Reports say Elon Musk has given it back to “legacy verified” accounts with over 1 million followers. What’s going on?” Larry Madowo, CNN journalist tweeted.

Other public figures whose Twitter verification was restored were Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, his predecessor Mike Sonko, Lawyer Ahmed Nassir and many others.

“Looks like Elon Musk paid for my Twitter subscription and restored the blue tick,” Lawyer Ahmed Nassir shared in a tweet on Saturday night.

Although the badges have been restored for users with over one million followers, Twitter is yet to give an official communication.

The decision to remove the badges came as part of Musk's efforts to eliminate the so-called “lords & peasants’ system for who has or doesn't have a blue checkmark.” Musk had tweeted that the “Final date for removing legacy blue checks is April 20 2023.

On Friday, April 21, Twitter users woke to more chaos on the platform than they had become accustomed to in recent months.

So dire was the situation that malicious people created parody accounts that confused users and spread fake news on the platform.

There was also immediate impersonations of government accounts; the removal of labels previously used to identify Chinese and Russian propaganda; and a scramble by the company to individually re-verify certain high-profile figures such as Pope Francis.

A broad array of media organizations lost the gold verification badges Musk’s team had developed months earlier as an alternative to traditional brand verification, reflecting those organizations’ apparent refusal to pay for the badges that now cost $1,000 (Ksh.134, 131) a month, CNN reports.