Update: According to some new reporting from Alex Heath at The Verge, James was offered a complimentary Twitter Blue subscription courtesy of Elon Musk. James did not formally accept the offer, but Musk is putting the blue checkmark next to him anyway. This is all fun and games for the Twitter owner, who clearly knows it is a bad look for a personality with 52 million followers and a net worth in the billions to shut down a $8 per month fee. Musk tweeted he is paying for some accounts personally, whether they want the service or not.
I’m paying for a few personally— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
It does raise some concerns about Musk’s unilateral ability to make changes to user accounts without their permission, and kind of throws his whole “give Twitter back to the users” mantra under the bus. We’ll see if James has any sort of formal response, but he’s locked into a playoff series and has little time for these questions. Expect nothing from the King on what is otherwise a non-story.
NEW: Have confirmed that LeBron, who has 52 million followers and has said he won’t pay for verification, was emailed by a Twitter employee with the offer to have his sub comped “on behalf of Elon Musk.”— Alex Heath (@alexeheath) April 20, 2023
James did not accept but his account is showing that he paid anyway.
If you spent any time on the social networking site Twitter on Thursday you probably noticed a commotion surrounding people losing their “blue checkmarks.” Owner Elon Musk had promised that the verification of celebrities, journalists, sports figures, etc, would go away and anyone could get a blue checkmark if they paid an $8 a month subscription.
After delays, the checkmarks finally went away on 4/20 and whoever has a checkmark now, has obviously subscribed to Twitter Blue. But, there is one very famous Twitter user who said he wasn’t going to pay for the service, but still has his checkmark, LeBron James.
Here he is saying no thanks to the service back in early late March.
Welp guess my blue ✔️ will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5. ♂️— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 31, 2023
But, here is his account page showing that he has subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Seems fishy, right? Well, it seems that James isn’t paying for Twitter Blue, as The Verge “contacted James’ media advisor, Adam Mendelsohn, who confirmed that James hasn’t paid the $8 monthly fee.”
The switcheroo appears to have happened to at least a few celebrities who came out against paying for verification. Here is author Stephen King tweeting that he did not pay for the service and with his history of speaking out against Musk, I think we can believe him.
My Twitter account says I’ve subscribed to Twitter Blue. I haven’t.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 20, 2023
My Twitter account says I’ve given a phone number. I haven’t.
We can guess that this is a little game that Musk is playing with his adversaries to make them look bad for subscribing to his company’s service. Kind of a self own, but that isn’t anything new for the at one time richest man in the world.