By Ahmad Muto
City comedian Conan Tumusiime has taken a jab at Twitter users that are considering paying for the verified checkmarks, saying it is absolutely unnecessary, and a willingness to be exploited by the greedy system that capitalism is.
“Why would anyone even want to buy a verification badge? For what? Anyway, status is a drug for some of you. Some people can be hungry but buy a badge. If you have value, you do! Stop letting a capitalist trick you into making him richer to prove that you have value,” he said.
After billionaire Elon Musk took over the social media platform, he announced that he was bringing down the axe on the issue of peasants versus lords on the app where only a particular group of people got verified, to making it a subscription system. He first proposed a $20 (sh76,000) monthly fee that, American Author, Stephen King tweeted he was not going to pay and Musk instantly revised it to $8 (sh30,000).
But Twitter Blue that enables the subscription for the checkmark is not yet available in Africa. Meanwhile, in the US, almost every account that wanted a checkmark now has it, and many other fake accounts that have since been suspended.
In just hours, they impersonated former US president, George W. Bush, and former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and used those accounts to make jokes about Iraq. Fake verified Cocacola accounts advertising Pepsi, verified a fake Jesus Christ account.
Tumusiime who was one of Uganda’s most followed public figures on the app quit over a year ago without notice, leaving his over 20k followers high and dry. He cited exhaustion as the reason for pulling the plug on his account, after two years of procrastination.
In 2020, he was ranked by Ipsos Uganda among the top media personalities with traction on the app.
When the news broke that verified accounts will have to pay to keep the checkmark, media personality Daniel Lutaaya tweeted at Musk telling him he won’t pay to keep the checkmark while Canary Mugume tweeted that it will be a case of extortion.