Renowned author Stephen King offered advice on Saturday to Twitter CEO Elon Musk in regard to the blue check verification marks, which were removed recently from most accounts on the social media platform.
On Thursday, Twitter removed check marks from accounts that have previously been verified that belonged to “notable” figures “in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category.” The accounts that still had the check marks were subscribed to Musk’s “Twitter Blue” service, which sells them for $8 or more per month.
The author tweeted on Thursday that he received a notification from his Twitter account saying that his blue check was restored and that he is now subscribed to Twitter Blue, even though he hasn’t. Musk commented under King’s tweet, simply writing, “you’re welcome namaste.”
King advised the billionaire in a separate tweet on Saturday that he should give the fee for his blue check mark to charity.
“I think Mr. Musk should give my blue check to charity. I recommend the Prytula Foundation, which provides lifesaving services in Ukraine. It’s only $8, so perhaps Mr. Musk could add a bit more,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, actor and comedian Jason Alexander also said on Saturday that he got his blue check mark back, even though he paid nothing to restore it.
“Friends told me my blue verified check was restored. Dont know why. I’ve paid nothing. I gave no number. @StephenKing reported same. My account remains so no one steals the account name. And I can tell you this madness hasn’t happened on Insta or Spoutible,” he tweeted.
Newsweek reached out by email to Twitter for comment and to ask why some users are getting back their blue check marks without paying the $8 fee.
Twitter had around 300,000 verified users with blue check marks, the Associated Press reported on Friday, including public figures, journalists, and athletes. Some of the prominent public figures on Twitter such as Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, and former President Donald Trump lost their blue check marks on Thursday.
Individual Twitter account users have to pay $8 a month to keep the check marks, while organizations have to pay a starting fee of $1,000 and additional $50 for each affiliate or employee account.
In December, Musk said that the changes he introduced to Twitter reflects a politically neutral and “fair” policy, despite criticism he faced from some for often siding with conservative views since taking over the social media platform last October.
“You know Twitter is being fair when extremists on far right and far left are simultaneously upset! Twitter aims to serve center 80% of people, who wish to learn, laugh & engage in reasoned debate,” he tweeted at the time.
Some Twitter users argued on Thursday that those paying for Twitter Blue are identifying themselves as followers of the right-wing ideology.
“There are a few exceptions, but it seems like the Blue Check you have to pay for now on Twitter is the new MAGA hat,” comedian Dana Goldberg tweeted.
“If you’re still carrying the blue check tomorrow? I dunno, man. Almost MAGA hat territory,” tweeted writer Tom Watson.
“Blue checks on twitter are now officially the new MAGA hat!” podcaster Jesse Dollemore tweeted. “They make identifying the a****** a helluva lot easier!”