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Elon Musk's X causes confusion as free blue ticks make a comeback

X has caused confusion by reinstating free blue ticks for some users - a year after it began charging for the service.

For years, Twitter blue ticks effectively served as verification badges and were given to celebrities, politicians, journalists, and other influential accounts for free.

However, months after Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44bn (£38bn) in October 2022, the platform stripped verification badges from accounts and instead began offering them as part of an $8-a-month premium service.

The move caused confusion as a large number of fake accounts pretending to another person or an organisation obtained verification simply by purchasing it.

On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, some bewildered Twitter users noticed their blue ticks were back despite the fact they hadn't subscribed to X's premium offering.

Comedian David Baddiel was among the users whose tick has made a comeback, while Jonathan Pie - who is a fictional character created by Tom Walker - also found himself in possession of one.

Another prominent user suddenly verified was @number10cat - a parody account for Downing Street's Larry the cat, which does not have government approval.

Since the premium subscription was introduced, blue ticks have commonly been seen as a sign of support for Musk and his X strategy - which led to multiple accounts sharing instructions on how to remove the symbols through setting changes.

X has not officially addressed the latest move though Musk said last week that all accounts with more than 2,500 verified subscriber followers would receive premium features - including the tick - for free.

In posts about the change, some users shared screengrabs of a notification that said they were getting the free premium service "as an influential member of the community on X".

The time since Musk's X takeover in October 2022 have been tumultuous.

Read more:
Musk announces X changes as users 'plummet'
Inside Musk's first year in charge at Twitter

The billionaire has laid off thousands of staff and faced scrutiny over the spread of misinformation and hate speech on the platform.

In his first year in charge, ad revenue dropped by at least 55%.