You may not be surprised to hear that back in 2009, Kanye West criticized Twitter for allowing impersonator accounts of the superstar. However, West wasn’t the celebrity who ultimately sued the company and caused the social media platform to begin using the blue check mark verification system. Instead, the unlikely celebrity who sued Twitter was a previous MLB manager.
Tony La Russa, former St. Louis Cardinals manager, was the first person to sue Twitter over imposter accounts. At the time, a Twitter parody account existed that used La Russa’s name. The account made fun of drinking and driving, as well as St. Louis Cardinals who had died. In the lawsuit, La Russa claimed that the tweets were “derogatory and demeaning” and that the feed damaged his trademark rights.
“There is a law against improperly using a person’s name without authorization, and it wasn’t authorized,” La Russa said. “You can’t sue everybody for criticizing you. But it seemed like that was the perception, that I or we were upset with the criticism. No, it was improper use of the name.”
In the end, La Russa and Twitter reached a settlement. The parody account that had only four followers was deleted. Twitter ended up paying the former manager’s legal fees and making a donation to his animal rescue nonprofit. Although La Russa was criticized heavily for taking on the social media giant, it did result in the blue checkmark verification system that we all now recognize.
Should You Be Charged To Be Twitter Verified?
It’s difficult to remember a world when the verification system on Twitter didn’t exist. So why are we talking about a blue check mark that’s been around for more than 13 years? Because Elon Musk has decided that people should be charged to have a blue check mark by their name.
That’s right. For a monthly fee of $8, you too can have the blue checkmark by your name. It’s part of Twitter Blue, a monthly subscription that “offers exclusive access to premium features that let you customize your Twitter experience,” according to Twitter’s website.
It appears to be just one of many changes Musk is making now that he’s Chief Executive of Twitter. The billionaire acquired the social media platform for $44 billion and has only been running the company for a few days. Since that time, he’s already received pushback from multiple advertisers and celebrities, including Stephen King.
Will Twitter become a site that no longer calls for proof but a nominal fee to claim you are who you say you are? Only time will tell if people will be willing to dish out $8 a month for a blue check mark.