Top TikTok creators confused after blue check marks are removed from their accounts

At least a dozen accounts with over 1 million followers complained within the last few weeks that their check marks had been removed.

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TikTok’s removal of blue verified check marks from some popular accounts is causing an uproar among the app’s highly followed stars.

This month, TikTok suddenly unverified multiple accounts with millions of followers on the platform, including Dr. Miami, Bethenny Frankel, FaZe Rug and even Duolingo.

After the removal of the check marks, some affected users started to complain about the situation to their large followings, and other users began speculating and creating their own theories around why the check marks had been removed. The videos received tens of thousands of likes and thousands of comments, as fellow users joined in to talk about creators they saw that had been unverified.

The exact number of accounts that have been unverified these past few weeks is unknown, but NBC News found a dozen videos posted this month by creators with over 1 million followers each who claimed that they were confused about why they had suddenly lost their verification. Some users pointed out how other influencers like Sheri Nicole Easterling, Addison Rae’s mom, are now no longer verified either.

Plastic surgeon Michael Salzhauer, known to fans as Dr. Miami, has 3.2 million followers on TikTok and has been verified for years. He didn’t realize he was unverified until he started noticing comments from eagle-eyed fans on June 7.

Over a week later, he decided to make light of the situation by posting a video of himself crying over lost blue check.

Unlike X and Instagram, users can’t buy blue checks on TikTok. The concept of social media verification was started by Twitter in 2009 for accounts of “public interest,” and today, TikTok still says that it verifies accounts that are active, authentic, complete, notable and secure. 

Salzhauer posts regularly on TikTok and has built large followings on Instagram and Snapchat. He has starred in the reality TV show “Dr. Miami.” He believes that TikTok was just doing an audit of verified accounts.

After being unverified, Salzhauer became worried that users would take the opportunity to more easily impersonate him.

“The main concern is that there are people that impersonate me regularly on social media and even scammers that have scammed potential patients out of thousands of dollars over the years,” Salzhauer said in an interview with NBC News. “Having a verified account decreases the likelihood of somebody opening a message from an unverified person claiming to be me.”

Salzhauer’s social media director Alex Alvarez noted in the interview that they had to reach out to TikTok but that the team was responsive. During the process of reporting this article, Salzhauer got his blue check back. On June 17, he posted a video celebrating and stating that the feat took 11 emails with TikTok and eight resubmissions. 

Other creators, like Frankel, have shown their frustration with the situation in videos in which she jokingly declared the newly unverified, such as herself, as “losers.” She did not state in that TikTok video whether she has reapplied for verification.

For his part, Brian Awadis, who goes by FaZe Rug, tried to stay positive. “Honestly no verification is the wave,” he captioned in a video with the fire emoji.

As of this writing, Frankel and Awadis have not been re-verified.

A representative from Duolingo said that the language-teaching tech company was asked by TikTok to reapply for verification, and it has since gotten its blue check back. Before being re-verified, however, Duolingo addressed the situation on TikTok.

“when you lose your verification so you have to actually teach languages,” the Duolingo account posted in a video that has received 2.5 million likes.

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com. More from NBC News:

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