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Twitter blue tick cull – The Pope, JK Rowling and Ant and Dec among hundreds of thousands losing their verification | Science & Tech News

Twitter has finally started removing “legacy” blue ticks from verified accounts, with some of the world’s best-known figures losing the verification sign.

The Pope, author JK Rowling, football star Cristiano Ronaldo, US rapper Jay-Z, and TV stars Ant and Dec have lost their blue ticks on the social networking site, along with the Labour and Conservative parties.

Twitter had about 300,000 verified users under the original blue tick system, many of them athletes, musicians, journalists and other public figures.

The Labour Party lost its verified account status
Image:
The Labour Party lost its verified account status
Conservative Party

The only blue ticks left will be those with a Twitter Blue subscription, which costs up to £11 a month in the UK, or those who are affiliated with the company.

But, unlike the “legacy” blue ticks introduced soon after Twitter launched to help people know which accounts were legitimate, Twitter will no longer verify the accounts to ensure they are who they say they are.

Accounts with different coloured checkmarks will keep those – gold indicates they are a verified business, while grey means they represent a government, multilateral organisation or official.

It brings the curtain down on one of the most controversial elements of Mr Musk‘s stewardship of Twitter since his $44bn (£38bn) takeover last October.

One of his first big decisions was to allow users to pay for a tick, declaring “power to the people”, but the move backfired, leaving the platform awash with accounts posing as brands, celebrities, and politicians.

Author JK Rowling, one of the world's most recognisable tweeters, lost her blue tick
Image:
Author JK Rowling, one of the world’s most recognisable tweeters, lost her blue tick
Beyonce's twitter account

One purporting to be former US president George W Bush tweeted “I miss killing Iraqis”, while another disguised as Nintendo’s official account posted a picture of Super Mario making a rude gesture.

Twitter paused the rollout of paid-for ticks as a result, introduced different coloured ticks to distinguish between governments, businesses, and people, and relaunched Twitter Blue a month later.

Oprah loses her blue tick
Justin Bieber loses his blue tick

In a final controversy before setting a date for their removal, Twitter made the old verified ticks indistinguishable from those who had paid for one.

Nimco Ali accuses Suella Braverman of ‘normalising hate of black people on Twitter’ with her rhetoric | UK News

The government’s outgoing adviser on violence against women has accused the home secretary of “normalising hate” that black people get on Twitter with her rhetoric on immigration.

Nimco Ali, who announced she was leaving her role as an independent adviser at the Home Office earlier this month, accused Suella Braverman of “normalising hateful rhetoric”.

Asked about her concerns, she told Sky News: “It’s just the rhetoric. This is someone who wants to go very right wing, rather than think about the humanity of people.

“Suella is happy to lock people up in places with no beds in order to look tough on immigration.”

And describing the consequences of that, Ms Ali, 39, added: “If you just look at the timeline on Twitter at the moment, where any young black person, or any black person, speaks out, whether that be Meghan Markle or myself, the rhetoric and the hate we get is so normalised and we shouldn’t be in that position.”

In recent days Jeremy Clarkson has faced huge criticism for his language about the Duchess of Sussex in an article for The Sun, in which he said he “dreamed of the day she is made to parade naked through the streets”.

Ms Braverman was first appointed as home secretary by Liz Truss in her short premiership but was sacked over a security breach which broke the ministerial code.

More on Migrant Crossings

She was controversially re-appointed to Rishi Sunak’s cabinet six days later – again as home secretary.

Ms Braverman has also attracted criticism for her language, especially over immigration, where she described asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats as “an invasion”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman makes a statement over four people drowning in the English Channel

‘Even if we deport people we can do it with humanity’

On her predecessor Priti Patel’s policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, Ms Braverman said it is her “dream” to be able to see it through amid successive legal challenges.

Ms Ali refused to comment on the latest High Court appeal due on Monday but said: “It’s the language we use around it.

“Even if we are going to deport people and their claims are not successful, we can still do that with a bit of humanity.”

She denied her decision to leave was because her contract wasn’t being extended with the Home Office.

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Previously she told Sky News: “I think I can definitely say that I wouldn’t feel comfortable in serving under Suella or actually saying that she is somebody that we probably have the same feminist ideals as.”

It is understood Ms Braverman and Ms Ali had never met before she started, and her job, given to her by Ms Patel two years ago, was due to end in the next two weeks.

A source close to Suella Braverman said: “It’s the home secretary’s duty to be honest with the British people about the scale of the crisis we’re facing on the south coast with the small boats crisis. She makes no apologies for that.”