Elon Musk’s Twitter Removes Verification Badge from New York Times
Elon Musk’s Twitter has removed the verification badge from the official New York Times Twitter account, a move which came in the wake of the Times stating it would not pay $1,000 a month for verification on the platform.
NBC News reports that after the New York Times declared it would not pay for the platform’s new subscription service, Twitter Blue, CEO Elon Musk removed the blue verification badge from the account’s official profile. Other major news organizations, including CNN, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, and Vox, have followed the New York Times’ lead and decided not to pay for the verification badges for their accounts or the accounts of their reporters.
Musk responded to a tweet from a user who shared a meme regarding the Times’ decision not to pay for verification, writing, “Oh ok, we’ll take it off then.” He followed up with tweets disparaging the New York Times, stating, “The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting. Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. They would have far more real followers if they only posted their top articles. Same applies to all publications.”
The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2023
Many verified accounts were found to still have their check marks as of Sunday afternoon, despite Twitter’s announcement last month that it would start removing verification check marks from accounts that wouldn’t pay for the new subscription service starting April 1. At the time, the verified checkmarks were still present on a few of the Times’ other Twitter accounts, such as New York Times World, NYT Science, and New York Times Opinion.
Twitter Blue was introduced as a way to increase revenue and ward off trolls and bots. It costs $8 per month for individuals and $1,000 per month for businesses. The service has drawn criticism, though, as well as worries about the potential spread of false information. After a spike in impersonators, Twitter Blue was abruptly discontinued after its initial October launch. In December, the platform relaunched the service with updated verification requirements, such as being truthful, active, and older than 30 days.
An NYT spokesperson said the company does not intend to pay the monthly fee to maintain check marks on any of its institutional accounts and will not compensate reporters who wish to maintain check marks on their personal accounts “except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes.” The spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment regarding Musk’s tweets criticizing the Times’ reporting or its Twitter feed.