THE GOLD “verified” mark of the reputed American daily New York Times has been removed from its official Twitter account, following Elon Musk’s dismissal of it as “propaganda.” On April 1, Twitter launched its paid verification scheme.
Musk, who is known for making controversial remarks, took over Twitter after months of wrangling with the company’s management. After taking over, he made it a priority to award the “blue checkmark” to all platform users who pay for it. Until now, the “blue checkmark” was thought to indicate an authentic account and was given to people for free.
The New York Times and several other news organisations, companies, and charities had previously lost their blue tick. Following Musk’s takeover, these were replaced with verified business accounts with the gold tick as the indicator.
To keep the gold tick after the launch of Twitter Blue, these organisations would have to pay a monthly fee of $1,000 in the United States, plus $50 for each additional affiliated account.
Under Twitter’s new rules, blue ticks which once showed official, verified accounts, will start to be removed from accounts which do not pay for it.
Organisations seeking verification badges instead have to pay a monthly fee of $1,000 (£810) to receive a gold verification tick, while individual accounts must pay $8 (£6.40) a month for a blue one.
The subscription service will generate revenue for Twitter, however concerns have been raised that without the verification process, it will be difficult to tell genuine accounts from impersonators.
As well as not paying the subscription fee, the New York Times said it would also not pay for the verification of its journalists’ Twitter accounts, apart from in “rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes”, a spokesperson said.
Several other well-known people, including American basketball player LeBron James, have stated that they will not pay for Twitter Blue. Several of them still have blue ticks or gold checkmarks on their accounts.
The blue tick had become an important indicator of trust in media outlets and campaigners. Twitter was founded by Elon Musk’s predecessor, Jack Dorsey, along with Evan Williams and Christopher Stone. Musk and his supporters have claimed that the blue checkmarks were distributed in a “secretive” manner.
Another unintended consequence of the paid blue ticks is that impostors or pranksters may pay to appear authentic while in fact being completely fake.