New Delhi | Indian celebrities and politicians ranging from Bollywood mega stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and several chief ministers lost verified blue ticks on their Twitter accounts after Elon Musk's microblogging site started removing check mark icons from accounts that did not pay Rs 650 per month subscription fee.
Twitter has begun removing the check mark, which had for years meant that Twitter had verified the identity of the user behind an account, from the profiles of thousands of celebrities, politicians and journalists on Thursday.
The blue tick was considered something of a status symbol but under Musk, who bought Twitter for USD 44 billion in October, the social media service is now charging individuals a monthly fee of Rs 650 on the web and Rs 900 on mobile devices to maintain their verification status.
The microblogging platform also offers a discounted annual plan of Rs 6,800 per year.
Musk had previously stated that those who did not pay will lose their check marks.
Among those whose accounts no longer had blue tick was the Twitter handle of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has 27 million followers on the microblogging website. Rahul Gandhi with 23.3 million followers too lost his blue tick.
Several other chief ministers, including Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, Yogi Adityanath of Uttar Pradesh, Eknath Shinde of Maharashtra, M K Stalin of Tamil Nadu, and Nitish Kumar of Bihar, too lost their verified icons.
Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who has 38.6 million followers on Twitter, also lost the blue tick.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers as well as Twitter handles of political parties including BJP and Congress continued to display vitrified marks.
Other celebrities whose blue ticks were removed included Ajay Devgn, Aia Bhatt, Akshay Kumar, Kajol, Madhuri Dixit, Anushka Sharma and Anil Kapoor, among others.
Musk had initially proposed charging USD 20 monthly for verification, but later lowered it to USD 8 after blowback. He had previously stated that verified accounts would lose their badges in early April, but pruning has begun only now.
"Tomorrow, 4/20, we are removing legacy verified checkmarks," the company said in a statement on Twitter. "To remain verified on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue." It also gave link for organisations to sign up for verified organisations.