Last week, Elon Musk finally got his long-awaited Thanos legacy-checking moment via a quickly planned dismantling.
It’s been a busy day for the Twitter and SpaceX boss when it comes to learning valuable lessons from watching billions of dollars of hard work explode.
But if we’re to believe Musk (this time), after removing the free verification checkmarks, everyone who has one has already “subscribed to Twitter Blue and verified their phone number.”
This fact reveals Musk’s long game and true genius, as he has just created the most important platform for talking to the dead since Doris Stokes and Tyler Henry.
Among those who have recently taken to Twitter, sharing their credit card details and phone number from the afterlife – we’re guessing the +777 prefix – are celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, basketball legend Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson, Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman and Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington.
But the one that has caught the attention of many, especially in the media, is Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist and correspondent for The Washington Post who was killed and dismembered by Saudi government agents in 2018 when he visited their consulate in Istanbul, Turkey , in 2018
The CIA concluded that Saudi leader Crown Prince bin Salman ordered the assassination.
Now it’s possible that the estates of dead celebrities have signed up – “Official Twitter account of the King of Pop” continues to tweet Michael Jackson stories to his 2.3 million followers every few days. But Bryant’s information went silent on the day of his death in January 2020. So did Bourdain’s after he took his own life in 2018.
Khashoggi also died almost five years ago and his account has also not been published since then, so why or how would it now be corroborated?
But the other reason this is raising eyebrows is that among the investors in Musk’s Twitter takeover deal, the second-largest shareholder is Saudi royal Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, who has a 4% stake in the social media platform through his company , Kingdom Holdings, worth about $1.9 billion at the time of the deal, when it closes in October 2022.
Dear Friend “Chief Twit” @elonmusk
Together until the end 🤝🏻 @Twitter https://t.co/J9rnd013xz pic.twitter.com/bXo6RUaUwk
– Alwaleed bin Talal (@Alwaleed_Talal) October 28, 2022
The prince, by the way, has a blue tick because of his connection to Kingdom Holding. Musk has a blue tick because he’s affiliated with Twitter, his account says.
Meanwhile, celebrities who are alive have discovered, to their surprise, that they have a blue tick, including author Stephen King, who has had multiple public run-ins with Musk. At that point, Musk said he was taking over the tab for the celebrity tweeters involved.
Welcome, namaste 🙏
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2023
As a lesson in how to piss off your customers, this is a master class.
My friends told me that my blue certified check was refunded. I do not know why. I haven’t paid anything. I didn’t give a number. @Stephen King reported the same. My account remains so no one steals the account name. And I can tell you that this craziness didn’t happen on Insta or Spoutible.
— Jason Alexander (@IJasonAlexander) April 22, 2023
No doubt Musk thinks he’s educating the haters, especially LeBron James, who refused to pay.
A strange thing is the legend of basketball, usually prolific on Twitter, simply stopped tweeting to his nearly 53 million followers after his team told The Verge. The account has been silent for over a week. A spokesperson for James told The Verge that a Twitter employee emailed the star to “extend the free Twitter Blue subscription for your account, @kingjames, on behalf of Elon Musk.”
In doing so, Musk managed to infuriate his Muscolites, who believed their god king’s promise of democratic equality for all, but now find themselves spending over $8 a month while celebrity millionaires get their tick for free, compliments of the billionaire boss on Twitter.
New post genre: blue twitter followers complaining about not being famous enough to be verified for free pic.twitter.com/q5I54nLHdl
— Ed Zitron (@edzitron) April 20, 2023
Musk also created an entirely new marketing category, celebrity rejection.
And here’s the kicker for the man who was previously in trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over the “420” jokes about Tesla, couldn’t find another government body on his case because of his 4/20 move, because giving the free celebrity blue ticks the potential for violating FTC rules (confirmed on Twitter, “because it’s a government or multilateral organization account”) regarding fraudulent endorsement.
Musk has “gifted” checks to Twitter accounts to celebrities and other influencers without first asking for permission. Blue checks act as an endorsement of Twitter Blue.
Here’s the thing: fake endorsements are infringing @FTC rules legally exposing Musk: https://t.co/rHTmXyGDfT #BlockTheBlue pic.twitter.com/DDEFDeyLYE
— Tim Karr (Mom Approved) (@TimKarr) April 23, 2023
If so, queue up some more quick unplanned disassembly.
We’d ask Twitter to comment on this, but the man who halved the social media platform’s value in just 12 months looks like Jim Levenstein looking for a pie.
[email protected] now automatically replies with 💩
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 19, 2023