Twitter has dropped The New York Times’ check mark after the media organisation refused to pay for its verification badge.
The move stirred up a fight between the NYT and Twitter boss Elon Musk over the social media giant charging for check marks for verified accounts.
After dropping the NYT’s — one of the world’s largest newspapers — checkmark, it raised questions over whether Twitter will remove other organisations’ badges if they also refuse to pay.
Twitter users and analysts sent mixed messages about the decision after Twitter took it down.
Journalist Aaron Rupar disagreed with the decision and said subscribing to the NYT provides good content around the world. “Paying for Twitter Blue gives you cred with paid verified ElonFan69420 and their 11 followers and not much more. In other words, this is a false equivalency.”
Another Twitter user who supported Musk’s move, Epic Games founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney said: “Twitter only verifying elites and friends of Twitter employees was wrong. Democratizing verification for $8 was good. Treating everyone the same is principled. What kind of company sells a product but gives it to elites for free? That’s just weird thing to do.”
Tony Webster, an online journalist said Twitter’s NYT decision feels like “’we’re shooting one hostage to send a message we’re super duper serious.’”
Source of revenue
Apart from the New York Times, Twitter did not remove any other media outlets’ account checkmark. The newspaper earlier announced that it will neither pay a monthly fee nor reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts for their badge.
CNN, AP, The Washington Post and some other major news outlets announced that they are not going to pay for the checkmark.
While the NYT’s main account no longer has a verified badge, the accounts for other branches still do.
Twitter charges $8 for a month if users want to keep the checkmark in their accounts. But this goes up to $1,000 for organisations and $50 per month for each affiliate or employee account.
Twitter Blue’s features offer subscribers a way to enhance and customise their Twitter experience, according to the company.
Twitter’s new policy move aims to help the company collect revenue by providing some exclusive features to subscribers, which has implications for a range of users on the platform.
Some celebrities also showed discomfort from the move. Basketball icon LeBron James, who has over 52 million followers, said: “Welp guess my blue [checkmark] will be gone soon cause if you know me I ain’t paying the 5.”
Musk took aim at NYT — which has over 55 million followers and 24th most followed account on Twitter — calling its content “propaganda.”
“Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It’s unreadable. They would have far more real followers if they only posted their top articles. Same applies to all publications,” Musk said.
There was no official response from Musk nor his office on whether the company will continue to drop other media organisations’ checkmarks or not.
The New York Times and other mainstream media organisations on the other hand have been targeting Musk, especially after he bought Twitter. He pledged to make radical changes and expose irregularities that happened during the previous administration.
Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla, purchased the social media giant for about $44 billion and released reports of how the US government was directing the previous Twitter administration to ban or shadow accounts and topics, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic period.