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X gives free blue ticks to its most popular users

Blue checkmark by Elon Musk's name on his Twitter account
[Getty Images]

X, formerly Twitter, is giving blue ticks to its most "influential" users in a significant change of policy.

Those with more than 2,500 verified followers - people already paying for X Premium - have been given premium features for free.

As well as the blue tick, the users will see fewer adverts on X.

The social media platform also announced it was clearing bots so people may notice follower numbers decreasing.

Blue ticks were originally a way to verify users were who they claimed to be, but they became a paid-for feature after Elon Musk purchased the site.

However, according to messages received by people who have been given the features, it is now being given out without cost if a person is an "influential member of the community".

Premium users also see their tweets ranked higher when replying to others, and it enables them to apply for revenue sharing from adverts on the site.

Meanwhile, people with more than 5,000 verified followers have been given free access to Premium+, which removes almost all adverts and ranks their tweets even higher when replying to another person.

It comes after Mr Musk announced the feature in late March.

Before X was bought by Mr Musk, the blue tick was a badge of verification given for free by the platform.

It was originally used as a tool of authentication, designed to help stop fake accounts and the spread of misinformation.

The blue tick was once seen as a marker of a person's authoritativeness on the site, as only a few people could become verified, such as celebrities, government workers and journalists.

Mr Musk disliked this system, which he criticised as creating a split between "lords and peasants".

Under the billionaire, the blue tick instead became a symbol showing that an account had subscribed to X Premium - previously called Twitter Blue - with a verification process attached to that payment.

But now it has become a combination of the two - with a person simply seen as prominent if they are followed by enough people with a checkmark of their own.