Elon Musk Responds to Star Trek's William Shatner on Why He's Making Users Pay for Blue Check-marks

Star Trek icon William Shatner isn't a fan of Elon Musk's decision to switch Twitter's legacy blue check-marks for verified users to a premium (read: pay-for) system of "verification" and he let Musk know publicly on Twitter over the weekend: 

"Hey @elonmusk what's this about blue checks going away unless we pay Twitter?" Shatner tweeted. "I've been here for 15 years giving my ⏰ & witty thoughts all for bupkis. Now you're telling me that I have to pay for something you gave me for free? What is this – the Colombia Records & Tape Club?🙄".

Musk, ever in salesman mode, tried to make a diplomatic appeal to Shatner with his response tweet: "It's more about treating everyone equally. There shouldn't be a different standard for celebrities imo."

Twitter has announced that starting April 1st it will begin to "wind down" the blue check-mark for legacy verified user accounts, leaving virtually no remaining time for users to ponder or debate their choices (as of writing this):

"On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks. To keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue..." Twitter stated in an announcement last week.

William Shatner has indeed been one of the most prolific celebrities on Twitter over the last decade – a truly impressive feat since he is 92 years old. The fact that William Shatner may soon lose his verified blue check-mark, while any number of Shatner fan accounts could pay to display one, is a pretty wild thought to consider. 

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Elon Musk maintains that this move will make Twitter a more level playing field, where blue check-mark accounts don't automatically get boosted in visibility and reach, based on elevated social status. Critics of the decision counter that this switch in policy is a coercive measure to force popular and/or influential users to pay for their fame and popularity on the social media platform, as well as protection against having their brand tarnished by imposter accounts. 

Last fall, when Musk took over Twitter he initially tried to launch a new premium system of verification – only to have it crash and burn. Users mercilessly abused the system, using confusion about the check system to impersonate big-name brands and cause all sorts of controversy. It was a quick but hard hit to Musk's image as Twitter's new CEO, and has understandably sparked new skepticism about the premium check-mark system being implemented again. 

Twitter's new verification system goes into effect on April 1st. 

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