Several public figures including Cristiano Ronaldo and the Pope lost their Twitter verification status on Thursday. The Elon Musk-led microblogging platform had warned users that if they fail to pay the $8/month subscription, the blue tick will be removed.

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Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton and K-pop group BLACKPINK were amongst several celebrities who were stripped of their blue tick.

Twitter had earlier this month announced that it will be removing legacy blue checkmarks on April 20. Taylor Swift and LeBron James seem to be amongst the few who have paid the fee and still have the verification status.

Twitter introduced three types of verification after the Elon Musk takeover. A gold tick is for verified organisations. The blue one is for verified individuals (with fees) and grey is for government representatives or someone from a multilateral organisation or an official.

Now many social media users are asking, if one can get the Twitter Blue Tick for free?

Twitter has listed a set of criteria one will have to match for a verified status. The user must be actively subscribed to Twitter Blue, which is by paying the fee. Their profile must be complete with a display name and profile photo, account must be active, be older than 90 days and have a confirmed phone number.

One will only get the blue tick for free if they are associated with a verified organisation – one with a golden tick – on Twitter.

According to Twitter, “Twitter Verified Organizations enables organisations of all types — businesses, non-profits, and government institutions — to sign up and manage their verification and to affiliate and verify any related account.”

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Twitter users are now reacting to the blue tick stripping.

“So now that the #BlueCheckMark has lost its intended purpose (legitimacy of notable people on Twitter); watch the uprise in fake celebrity/ business accounts. 🤡🤡🤡,” one social media user said.

“#BlueCheckMark and it’s removal is one hell of a revenue stream, the whole globe must now pay! Sheesh 💰” another one added.