Elon Musk’s long-promised move to strip free blue ticks from Twitter users swung into action on Thursday, dividing the have-paid from the have-nots.
Like some kind of fable in which the chosen few ascend to a higher plane, accounts with a Twitter Verified check began rising above the rest — a rapture that left most of us behind.
Twitter began the mass removal of its blue ticks on Thursday, as the symbol previously used to signify a verified account vanished from notable users including Imran Khan, Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Mahira Khan, Babar Azam and others.
Owner Elon Musk, who has seen his $44 billion investment in the site shrivel, earlier pledged to get rid of what he described as a “lords and peasants system”.
He offered instead to sell the blue badge to anyone who would pay $8 a month, in a move he said last year would “democratise journalism and empower the voice of the people”.
Earlier dates set for the rollback of the ticks — predominately used by celebrities, journalists and politicians — have slipped by without noticeable action.
But on Thursday high-profile accounts and others, appeared to have had the checkmarks removed.
Politicians and official bodies also appeared to have been hit with Prime Minister’s Office handle also being one of the casualties.
While Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Khan lost his blue check his party’s official Twitter handle retained the check mark by paying the required amount.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Twitter handle has been verified with a grey tick because it is a “government or multilateral organisation account”.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb’s account has also been verified with a grey tick because of being associated with a government account.
Apart from the politicians and sports personalities, including skipper Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shadab Khan, cricketer-turned-commentator Wasim Akram Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi were also some of the casualties.
Former finance minister Miftah Ismail, the official National Assembly handle, PTI leaders Hammad Azhar, Fawad Chaudhry, and Asad Qaiser are among those who have bought the blue badge by paying $8.
Among celebrities, singer-turned-actor Ali Zafar has also subscribed to the blue tick.