Kobe Bryant, Norm Macdonald, Anthony Bourdain, Chadwick Boseman, and Michael Jackson’s Twitter handles were among those that received a posthumous blue check as the social network began removal of legacy checkmarks.
While Musk has not publicly acknowledged the deceased celebrity accounts with the badge, he does appear to have acknowledged claims that he insulted organizers of the #BlockTheBlue campaign, a viral Twitter effort to silence Twitter Blue subscribers by blocking them.
As of Saturday evening, the label on their profiles clearly reveals that the deceased celebrities had enrolled to Twitter Blue and confirmed their phone numbers.
While someone in charge of the celebrities’ estates might theoretically have certified them, accounts like Bourdain’s have remained dormant in the years after their deaths, with the only alteration being the certified Blue badge.
According to TechCrunch, the relaunch of Twitter Blue — which includes features such as an edit button and a new “verified” badge, which was previously seen as a status symbol for celebrities but is now available for purchase by anyone — has been “underwhelming,” with the social media platform earning only $11 million in mobile-based subscriptions since Musk brought it back in December.
Twitter Blue, which costs $8 a month, has attracted few new users since its reintroduction – according to programmer Travis Brown, fewer than 600,000 accounts pay for it.
While efforts to block people with paid-for verification badges have surfaced on the site, some observed that celebrity endorsements looked to be an attempt to sell the unpopular service.
Anthony Bourdain’s Twitter account, including a posthumous Twitter Blue subscription badge.
However, the posthumous Twitter Blue badges may violate consumer protection rules against misleading recommendations.
According to California Civil Code 3344.1, anyone who uses a deceased personality’s name, voice, signature, or likeness — in any way — for the purpose of advertising or selling products, goods, or services without the person’s consent is liable for $750 or the amount of actual damages sustained, whichever is greater.