Listen to this article Twitter Verification Badges Given to Deceased Celebrities Draw Criticism for False Endorsements
Twitter has added verification badges to the profiles of deceased celebrities, making it appear as though they have endorsed the subscription service Twitter Blue. Among the famous figures who received posthumous blue checks are Kobe Bryant, Norm Macdonald, Anthony Bourdain, Chadwick Boseman, and Michael Jackson. As the social media platform began to remove legacy verifications and only display them on profiles of paying subscribers, some have raised concerns about potential false endorsements.
Verification of Deceased Celebrities
Although it is theoretically possible for someone controlling the estates of the celebrities to have verified the accounts, profiles like Bourdain’s have remained dormant, and the only change has been the addition of the Verified Blue badge. While Boseman’s former manager and a lawyer for Bryant’s family did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment, users have speculated about the purpose of these posthumous Twitter Blue endorsements.
Twitter Blue’s Popularity and Potential Legal Issues
Despite being available for $8 per month, Twitter Blue has attracted few new subscribers since its relaunch. The move to give blue checks to deceased celebrities could potentially violate laws designed to protect consumers from false endorsements. According to California’s Civil Code 3344.1, anyone who uses a deceased personality’s name, voice, signature, or likeness for advertising purposes without consent is liable for $750 or the amount of actual damages sustained, whichever is greater. Some legal experts have warned that adding the blue check to large accounts without their approval may be considered a deceptive trade practice and result in false endorsement claims.
Response from Twitter and Elon Musk
The Twitter press email sent Insider an automatic response with a poop emoji, and Elon Musk, who relaunched Twitter Blue in December, seemingly mocked leaders of the #BlockTheBlue campaign in response to reports that he had given them verified blue badges. However, Musk has not yet responded to Insider’s requests for comment on the posthumous Twitter Blue endorsements.
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