Dead celebrities receive Elon Musk's Twitter Blue verification years after they've died

Dead celebrities receive Elon Musk's Twitter Blue verification years after they've died
A series of dead celebrities have received Elon Musk's Twitter Blue verification years after they've died. Photo credit: Getty Images

Chadwick Boseman, Kirstie Alley and Anthony Bourdain have become the latest celebrities to be verified under Elon Musk's Twitter Blue system - a tool which launched years after they died.

On Friday, April 20, the company announced it would be finalising the removal of the legacy Blue tick verified status for all those who had previously had it, and had opted not to pay for verification at a cost of US$8 per month.

The checks had previously been given to accounts which had been verified as legitimate and were meant to signal to users that the people commenting from those accounts were who they said they were.

However, it was revealed days later that Musk had paid for Twitter Blue for some celebrities as well as accounts with followers numbering greater than one million, without their knowledge or consent.

But the latest complaint to hit the system has come after over a dozen dead celebrities appear to be paying to be verified and subscribed to Twitter Blue. 

Among those impacted were Prince, who died in April 2016, Michael Jackson, who died in 2009 and basketballer Kobe Bryant, who died in 2020.

Other more recent celebrities like Kirstie Alley, who died in 2022, also received the verification.

Since the celebrity in question had died, most accounts had not posted new tweets since the account holder's death.

Their accounts currently feature a blue check, which, if hovered over, displayed the message: "This account is verified because they are subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number."

Many questioned how this happened and whether the celebrity estates involved had paid for the verification, with one joking: "The dead have arisen - and they're paying for blue checks."

But there was concern the move could cause upset and offence to those families involved.

"Looks like Elon has ordered that every account over a certain threshold of subscribers be awarded a gratis blue check. I'm sure that all the dead celebrities' relatives will be grateful, and this won't cause any offence at all," the commenter said.

The new version of Twitter Blue is causing concern that misinformation will more easily spread as its terms and conditions reveal there will not be a strict process to oversee the veracity of those creating the account.

"[It] will not undergo review to confirm that they meet the active, notable and authentic criteria that was used in the previous process," the site said.

There has been no official comment from either Musk or Twitter about the verification of the dead celebrities.