Responding to criticism from US horror writer King, Musk says he’s already donated $100 million to Ukraine

23 April, 02:37 PM
Elon Musk says he donated $100 million to Ukraine (Photo:LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters)

Elon Musk says he donated $100 million to Ukraine (Photo:LUCY NICHOLSON / Reuters)

Responding to a tweet from the famous U.S. horror writer Stephen King, U.S. billionaire and Twitter owner Elon Musk fired back that he has already donated $100 million to Ukraine.

King suggested donating money for his paid blue checkmark verification on Twitter to the fund of Serhiy Prytula, a Ukrainian actor and TV personality known for social activism and charitable causes in Ukraine.

Musk’s response early on April 23 (Kyiv time) was: “I’ve donated $100M to Ukraine, how much have you donated?”

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In his response to King, Musk also retweeted a message from Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, dated Oct. 24, 2022, in which Fedorov thanked Musk for financing the operation of Starlink satellite internet terminals in Ukraine. Musk’s SpaceX company provided them to Kyiv at the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

King earlier noted that he had retained his blue “verified” checkmark, despite not asking for it. Musk soon fired back that he had paid for King’s “verification” himself. A blue check now costs users $8 per month. Critics of the change to the system say it allows users to impersonate others and encourages the spread of disinformation on Twitter.

Since scrapping the legacy blue check verification markings on April 20, “verified” accounts impersonating former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a New York government organization have appeared on the site.

Among those losing their verified status on April 20 was Pope Francis, the leader of the world’s 1 billion Roman Catholics.

Meanwhile, famous UK actor Sir Ian McKellen, who has 4 million followers on the site, said he had also regained his blue check mark – despite not paying for it.

“Despite the implication when you click the blue badge that has mysteriously re-appeared beside my name, I am not paying for the ‘honour’,” McKellen tweeted on April 23.

Last fall, after Musk acquired Twitter, the platform introduced the option to purchase a blue checkmark, which was previously used to verify an account, for eight dollars.

In other recent editorial developments on Twitter, tags that notified users that an account was linked to propaganda outlets have been removed. Also, the accounts of several propaganda outlets, such as Russia’s government-controlled TASS agency, have had tags that mark them as state-controlled media removed.

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