Big names like LeBron James, Mr. Beast, and President Joe Biden are reportedly on a special watch list of tweeters who get an artificial visibility boost on the platform.
Legacy blue checks will disappear from Twitter accounts beginning April 1 unless users become paid Twitter Blue subscribers. That’s what we’ve been told, anyway. So, does that apply to the secret list of Twitter VIP users first reported Monday?
While we are all hoping Elon Musk is just brewing one bad April Fools’ Day joke, this is no laughing matter. Twitter’s CEO said removing legacy blue checks is “about treating everyone equally,” including celebrities who will have to spend $8 a month with the rest of the Twitter community to keep their verification status. Of course, this decision is not faring well across the platform.
Now, social media users across that ever-widening landscape are harshly questioning Musk’s game after news leaked that there’s a secret VIP list of about 35 users whose accounts consistently get a boost on the platform. This, in fact, confirms that there is a different standard for celebrities and public figures since everyday users aren’t included on the list. Platformer first published the news and said it wouldn’t be sharing the complete VIP list to protect its sources’ identities.
A news site that often reports on social networks, Platformer also shared that Musk himself is on the list, which includes journalists, political figures, athletes, influencers, and more.
The list is said to have been formed to monitor engagement by Twitter’s top users with big followings, but that goal has changed. The engineer who created the list declined to comment on its creation to Platformer, but the outlet was able to confirmm that the list is wrapped up in a larger project that involves engineers boosting tweets from users on the list if they notice that their engagement dips a bit — right on cue, Musk noted that his own engagements had dipped earlier this year.
We’ll have to wait at least a couple of days to see if ol’ Elon will make good on his promise to remove all legacy checks, and we’ll also be watching to see if the users on this list opt to purchase their verification status, or not. Moving forward, Musk said only verified accounts will be recommended on Twitter’s “For You” feed.
Hello, bots, and goodbye, trust.
In the meantime, take a look at a little less than half of the confirmed members of this so-called Twitter VIP user list, along with some quick facts about each:
- Category: Sports journalist
- Twitter Handle: @wojespn
- Twitter Followers: 5.8 million
Woj is a Senior NBA Insider columnist and reporter at ESPN; he previously covered the association for Yahoo! Sports. The #WojBomb — a scoop reported by the man himself — is one of the great traditions of Basketball Twitter.
- Category: US Congresswoman
- Twitter Handle: @AOC
- Twitter Followers: 13.4 million
New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents the state’s 14th Conressional District. An activist known for being vocal on her social media channels about left-leaning causes, she is the only woman known to exist on this reported Twitter VIP users list as of this writing.
- Category: Conservative political commentator
- Twitter Handle: @benshapiro
- Twitter Followers: 5.5 million
Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro is an attorney, author, columnist, and host of a daily political podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show.”
- Category: Conservative political influencer/commentator
- Twitter Handle: @catturd2
- Twitter Followers: 1.6 million
Anonymous commentator “Catturd” is best known for spreading right-wing propaganda and trolling accounts associated with left politics and the Democratic Party. No one knows for certain who runs the account that has been active since September 2018.
- Category: Menswear writer
- Twitter Handle: @dieworkwear
- Twitter Followers: 145,500
Vice called Derek Guy “algorithmically famous” after the style writer’s content started getting frequently featured on users’ For You page in recent months. Guy’s sudden viral fame seems random, especially since everything else about his identity is private, though he told GQ that Derek Guy is his real name.
- Category: Enigmatic internet legend
- Twitter Handle: @dril
- Twitter Followers: 1.7 million
The one and only “dril” is another pseudonymous Twitter user that uses a blurred image of Jack Nicholson for his Twitter avatar. The notable tweeter is typically associated with the “Weird Twitter” subculture for his absurd humor.
- Category: Political journalist
- Twitter Handle: @ggreenwald
- Twitter Followers: 2 million
Glenn Greenwald is an author, lawyer, journalist, and co-founder of The Intercept, a non-profit news outlet that covers politics, international affairs, national security, and more. Currently the operator of an eponymous Substack, he is one of the key figures behind the controversial, Musk-commissioned reporting project “The Twitter Files.”
- Category: Comedian
- Twitter Handle: @jaboukie
- Twitter Followers: 876,200
Jaboukie Young-White is a stand-up comedian, actor, and writer best known for voicing Ethan Clade in Disney’s Strange World and writing for Netflix’s Big Mouth.
- Category: President of the United States
- Twitter Handle: @JoeBiden and @POTUS
- Twitter Followers: 37 million and 30.1 million
Ol’ Joey B? You may have heard of him — he’s the 46th President of the United States (unless you believe he’s been dead for years and using a body double). Previously, he served as Vice President alongside Barack Obama and spent decades in the US Senate representing Delaware.
- Category: NBA player
- Twitter handle: @KingJames
- Twitter followers: 52.8 million
LeBron James is an NBA legend that needs no introduction. A future Hall of Famer and part of the two-man NBA GOAT conversation, he currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is known off the court for various entrepreneurial efforts, including part ownership over the athlete empowerment brand UNINTERRUPTED with longtime business partner Maverick Carter.
If Twitter engineers identify segments of the ranking system where tweets from these accounts are “dropping,” they can tweak the code to ensure the tweets are always shown. 2/— Zoë Schiffer (@ZoeSchiffer) March 28, 2023
- Category: Political journalist
- Twitter Handle: @mattyglesias
- Twitter Followers: 533,600
Matt Yglesias is an economics and politics columnist for Bloomberg, producer of the “Bad Takes” podcast and author behind the “Slow Boring” newsletter.
- Category: YouTube content creator
- Twitter Handle: @MrBeast
- Twitter Followers: 19.2 million
MrBeast is a YouTube content creator and philanthropist with nearly 140 million subscribers on his channel. He’s known for capturing expensive and elaborate stunts and making philanthropic donations from his YouTube earnings.
- Category: Economics writer
- Twitter Handle: @Noahpinion
- Twitter Followers: 288,100
Noah Smith is the author of the Noahopinion Substack publication, which has nearly 125,000 subscribers. He took to Twitter to correct Platformer and tweet that he is a blogger, not a journalist.
Tesla Owners Silicon Valley
- Category: Tesla community
- Twitter Handle: @teslaownerssv
- Twitter Followers: 681,900
The Tesla Owners Silicon Valley Twitter account describes itself as a “Tesla Owners Club” and is not actually run by the Tesla brand.
More Social Media & Tech
The latest AR & API technology from Snapchat will allow fans at the Super Bowl to watch and interact during the Big Game in entirely new ways. …
Boardroom recaps Michelai’s Bet of the Week Presented by FanDuel Sportsbook, a tech hot takes section in our Tech Talk newsletter….