March 3, 2024

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Twitter hit the New York Times documented badge on Elon Musk’s orders


Twitter removed the “verified” badge from the main account of The New York Times on Sunday, a move billionaire owner Elon Musk pushed for overnight after learning the news organization would not pay for Twitter Blue.

The move continues Musk’s years-long grudge against American journalists who have reported critically about him, and will increase the risk of impersonation. It also goes against the scheme of the interior first mentioned by the Times on Thursday, to keep the badges for its 10,000 organizations, regardless of whether they paid.

Twitter said it would begin ending its traditional verification program starting Saturday, removing the blue check mark symbols it had applied for years to accounts of verified companies, journalists and public figures.

In its place, Twitter is implementing a pay-to-play system that would award a badge to anyone who pays for it — money the company desperately needs to offset falling ad revenue and billions of dollars in debt. Twitter Blue will cost users about $8 per month, while businesses that want verification will be charged $1,000 a month.

By Sunday morning, The Times – Twitter The twenty-fourth most followed accountwith more than 54 million followers — was one of only a few dozen accounts to have already had its badge removed, according to data collected by Travis Brown, a developer who has been tracking changes.

The blue check mark on Twitter has been both loved and hated. Now it is paid to play.

The move appears to have been personally directed or encouraged by Musk, who had the answered late Saturday night to a memo explaining the Times’ decision not to pay for Twitter verification by saying, “Okay, we’ll remove it then.”

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The Times, The Washington Post and other news organizations said Thursday that they will not pay for verification to their news organizations or journalists, though the Times said there may be some rare exceptions where a tag can be “necessary for reporting purposes.”

Asked about the move Sunday, a Times spokesperson confirmed that the news organization still “does not plan to pay monthly check-mark status fees for corporate Twitter accounts.”

Musk did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

It was not clear why other accounts still had badges. The Post reported on Friday that removing verification badges would require extensive manual labor due to the company’s error-prone software, which a former employee described as “all held together with duct tape.”

In a deleted tweet from early Sunday morning, Musk said He said The company will give verified accounts “a grace period of a few weeks, unless they tell them they won’t pay now, as we’ll remove the account.”

Overnight, Musk also tweeted several attacks on the Times, saying, “Her publicity isn’t even interesting.”

Twitter, as a company policy enforced by Musk, no longer answers journalists’ questions on any topic. In December, it suspended several journalists, including this reporter, for tweeting about the company’s sudden suspension of accounts that had posted public statements about Musk’s private jet flights.

Elon Musk’s Twitter is pushing hate speech and extremist content onto the For You pages

Although Musk said on Friday that he wants to make Twitter “the most trusted place on the internet,” the move will likely make it difficult for Twitter users to distinguish between legitimate and fake accounts. Scammers and trolls on the platform have already started changing their names and photos to imitate celebrities, corporations, and politicians.

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One account, using the Times’ name and photo, tweeted, “Sources inside Twitter say Elon Musk is petty,” along with a series of expletives.

Although the main Times account no longer has a check mark icon, its other property accounts still exist.

Also, do the accounts of celebrities, including basketball icon LeBron James, who chirp Friday in front of more than 52 million followers,” Welp guess my blue [check mark] I’m going soon because if you knew me I wouldn’t pay 5″