• Chris Messina has been credited for introducing the concept of tagging social media groups and topics with the use of hashtags in 2007
  • He and a small group of Twitter users in San Francisco reportedly thought at the time that the platform needed "some kind of organizing framework"
  • Twitter started letting users to search for hashtags in 2009

The blogger who proposed the idea of tagging social media groups or topics using hashtags across social media has reportedly bid Twitter goodbye after the microblogging platform pulled his legacy checkmark.

"My choice isn't about the badge; it's about everything that lead up to the badge and how it has been handled. Whatever Twitter was before deserved more dignity and consideration than it's received in the last six months," blogger Chris Messina said over the weekend, The Verge reported Monday.

As of writing, Messina's Twitter profile has been set to private, and according to the outlet, the 42-year-old product consultant made his Twitter exit on April 15, after his legacy check was removed.

Messina has been credited for introducing the concept of tagging social media groups and topics by using hashtags back in 2007, when he was running an internet consulting company, as per CNBC.

At the time, Messina said he and a small group of people in San Francisco who were using Twitter thought that the social media platform needed "some kind of group organizing framework."

Messina said that after he pitched the concept, the company initially told him the use of hashtags on Twitter was "nerdy," so he asked his friends to give the hashtag a try on the platform. Others followed suit and in 2009, Twitter allowed users to search for hashtags. Instagram users used hashtags when the photo-sharing app was launched in 2010, and Meta's Facebook adopted the use of hashtags in 2013.

Messina's move to leave the platform came a few weeks after his spat with Twitter CEO Elon Musk over hashtags. Musk was responding to a tweet that shared OpenAI's chatGPT response wherein the AI chatbot was asked to create a tweet that was "statistically more likely to get a like or comment from" the Tesla founder, as per Benzinga.

The chatbot reportedly suggested the following: "Exciting times for space exploration! Looking forward to seeing how @SpaceX will continue pushing the boundaries and expanding our knowledge of the universe #SpaceX #Mars #Exploration."

Musk then responded that chatGPT "missed the mark" because it turns out the SpaceX founder hated hashtags. Messina later responded, stating that hashtags "are doing just fine without the microblogging site (Twitter)," according to the outlet.

Messina's Twitter farewell also comes at a time when several influential people are contemplating how to move forward on the platform after the company announced that the final date for removing legacy checkmarks would be April 20.

First in line is the White House, which told staffers that it will not pay Twitter so staff will continue to see their verified checkmarks.

"Staff may purchase Twitter Blue on their personal social media accounts using personal funds," White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty told staffers late last month, according to an email obtained by Axios.

NBA star LeBron James suggested earlier this month that he won't pay up to retain his blue check.

NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he wasn't paying $8 for the Twitter Blue subscription. "Can't bro I got kids," he said.

Several other NFL athletes also chimed in.

"Don't nobody want that raggedy blue check no way anymore," Michael Thomas tweeted.

"They can have my blue check," Darius Slay noted, before saying that "fans might tag the wrong name now when someone catch a ball on me."

Actor Jason Alexander has said he would leave Twitter if his legacy checkmark gets removed.

Actor William Shatner asked the Twitter CEO why he has to pay "for something you gave me for free."

Journalist Dan Rather said that while he was willing to pay for other things, a blue tick "on THIS website ain't one of them."

Model Chrissy Teigen couldn't care less if her verified check was removed.

Last year, best-selling author Stephen King said he would be "gone" if Twitter implements a paid blue check system. "They should pay me," he noted.

He added in a separate post that the issue wasn't about the money but it was "the principle of the thing."

Twitter first announced that it would start "winding down" the legacy verified program that many influential names used in the past to get their blue checkmarks beginning April 1.

Musk later announced that the "final date" for removing legacy checks was moved to April 20.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reportedly said it would not pay for a blue check. Hours after the media company was reported to have rejected the paid subscription, the verified check of the outlet's main account was removed. As of writing, the main account with 55 million followers does not have a blue tick.

Illustration shows Elon Musk photo and Twitter logo
Elon Musk said the final date of removing legacy checks has been set to April 20. Reuters