(San Francisco) The account verification system on Elon Musk’s Twitter looked like it couldn’t get more incomprehensible, yet perplexity reigned supreme on Saturday, with blue badges making a return to some media accounts or personalities, whether whether they like it or not.

“Down on my soul I didn’t pay for Twitter Blue, Tesla man you gonna feel my wrath!” tweeted American rapper Lil Nas X, whose profile displays the blue checkmark.

Formerly free, and a guarantee of authenticity and notoriety, it now means that the user is subscribed to Twitter Blue (for 8 dollars per month) and that his telephone number has been verified by the platform.

On Thursday, accounts that had the old blue badge lost it unless they paid for the new one, following Elon Musk’s strategy put in place this winter to authenticate users and generate new revenue.

But a tiny fraction of distinguished former users subscribed – less than 5% of the 407,000 profiles concerned, according to researcher Travis Brown.

On Friday and Saturday, a growing number of personalities found a blue tick, apparently without action on their part, such as writer Stephen King, NBA champion LeBron James or former President Donald Trump.

“No means no guys,” tech journalist Kara Swisher tweeted on Saturday, explaining that she was “forcibly verified” without her “consent.”

“People need to know: does Elon love me for me or for the 1.49 million people who follow me? she added, an hour after claiming she wouldn’t be paying “eight bucks a month for a blue check mark and blah tools.”

Many authenticated users despite themselves wanted to let it be known that they had nothing to do with it, because the controversial badge has become a symbol of support for Elon Musk.

“Please note that I have not subscribed to Twitter Blue, even though for some mysterious reason my blue tick is showing again,” said author Rick Wilson.

The boss of Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX announced on Friday on the social network that he was “personally paying for a few subscriptions”.

“Checkmate,” he mysteriously tweeted on Saturday, amid speculation.

“Musk’s business model is to falsify celebrity endorsements like a box of penis-enlarging pills,” lawyer Max Kennerly said.

Accounts of deceased people, such as American chef Anthony Bourdain, have also received the new blue badge.

And many official media accounts have it too, even the New York Times, which lost its certification in early April after Elon Musk called the information posted there “propaganda.”

Some major news organizations have a gold badge reserved for “verified organizations” that pay at least $1,000 per month.

But US public radio NPR and public media group CBC/Radio-Canada had still not started tweeting again on Saturday.

These two organizations recently suspended their activities on Twitter in protest against the labels that Twitter had attached to them: “government-funded media” or “state-affiliated”, terms previously reserved for non-independent, government-funded media. autocratic.

On Friday, Elon Musk’s platform removed these labels, including for the official Chinese agency Xinhua (New China) or the Russian RT.

“Was the real purpose of all this NPR fuss to help China and Russia? Looks good: By removing labels from state-controlled media, Twitter is helping propaganda,” Kara Swisher pointed out Saturday morning.

AFP did not contact Twitter, which no longer officially responds to the press except with a poo-shaped emoji.