Twitter has removed the verification check mark on the main account of The New York Times, one of Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s most despised news organizations.
The removal comes as many famous users of Twitter are bracing for the loss of the blue checkmarks that help verify their identities and distinguish them from impostors on the social media platform.
musk, Who owns Twitter?, set a deadline of Saturday for verified users to purchase a premium Twitter subscription or lose the check on their profile. The Times said in a story on Thursday that it would not pay Twitter to verify its organizational accounts.
Earlier Sunday, Musk tweeted that the Times check mark would be removed. He then posted disparaging comments about the newspaper that had made the headlines on Twitter and about flaws with the partially autonomous driving system at Tesla, the electric car company that Musk also runs.
Other Times accounts, such as opinion and business news sites, still have blue or yellow checkmarks as of Sunday, as do many of the news organization’s reporters.
“We do not plan to pay a monthly fee for tick status for our institutional Twitter accounts,” the Times said in a statement on Sunday. “We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for individual accounts, except in rare cases when the status is necessary for the purpose of the article,” the newspaper said in a statement Sunday. reporting purposes.
The Associated Press, which said it also won’t pay for the checkmarks, still shows them on their accounts as of noon Sunday.
Twitter did not respond to emailed questions from The Associated Press about The New York Times’s checkmark removal.
The cost to keep a checkmark ranges from $8 a month for individual web users to a starting price of $1,000 monthly for verifying an organization, plus $50 monthly for each associated account. link or employee account. Twitter does not verify individual accounts to make sure they are what they say they are, as was the case with the previous blue check issued to public figures and others during its prior administration. there’s Musk’s platform.
While the cost of signing up for Twitter Blue might seem like nothing to Twitter’s most popular commentators, famous users from basketball star LeBron James to Star Trek’s William Shatner have been hesitant to join. . The actor of the American sitcom Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, pledged to leave the platform if Musk took away his green check.
The White House is also moving to sign up for premium accounts, according to a memo sent to staff. Although Twitter has granted free gray stamps to President Joe Biden and members of his cabinet, lower-level employees will not receive Twitter Blue benefits unless they pay themselves.
“If you see impersonations that you believe violate Twitter’s stated impersonation policy, notify Twitter using Twitter’s public impersonation portal,” the employee memo from the House official said. White Rob Flaherty said.
Alexander, the actor, said there are bigger problems in the world, but without the blue mark, “anyone can call themselves me”.
After buying Twitter for $44 billion last October, Musk has tried to boost the struggling platform’s revenue by driving more people to pay for a premium subscription. But his move also reflects his assertion that blue verification marks have become an unworthy or “spoiled” status symbol for elite figures, news reporters and others have been granted free verification by Twitter’s previous management.
Along with protecting celebrities from imposters, one of Twitter’s main reasons for marking profiles with a blue check mark starting about 14 years ago was to verify politicians activities and people who suddenly appear in the news, as well as lesser-known journalists at small global publications, as an additional tool to curb misinformation coming from fake accounts. everyone’s name. Most “legacy blue checks” are not household names and are not meant to be.
One of Musk’s first product moves after taking over Twitter was to launch a service that issues green checks to anyone willing to pay $8 a month. But it was quickly flooded with impersonated accounts, including those impersonating Nintendo, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and Musk’s businesses Tesla and SpaceX, so Twitter had to suspend the service. few days after launch.
The relaunched service costs $8 a month for web users and $11 a month for iPhone or Android app users. Subscribers are supposed to see fewer ads, be able to post longer videos, and have their tweets stand out more.