Elon Musk's X is tilting right
Social platform X is handing out perks to popular accounts Image Credit: Shutterstock

California: X owner Elon Musk is giving away free premium features "- including the once-coveted blue verification checkmarks "- to some of the social network's most popular users.

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Musk pledged last week to start handing out the free features to people who had more than 2,500 verified followers. This week, several users noticed that blue checkmarks had reappeared on their profile.

Some users who got the blue checkmarks this week were perplexed as to how they got there, and the company sent some users a notification explaining the change. Typically accounts must pay for X's premium monthly subscription to receive a blue badge, which was used by Twitter's old management to distinguish and verify the identities of notable users.

It's a change of strategy for Musk, who has criticized old Twitter's decision to hand out the checkmarks to prominent accounts. Musk called that strategy a "lords and peasants" system, and removed all legacy blue checkmarks shortly after taking over the company, requiring people to pay for them instead.

Now, 18 months after officially taking over, he's taking a page out of the old company's playbook. A spokesperson declined to comment.