Twitter has removed the verification check mark on the main account of The New York Times, one of CEO Elon Musk’s most despised news organisations.
The removal comes as many of Twitter’s high-profile users are bracing for the loss of the blue check marks that helped verify their identity and distinguish them from imposters on the social media platform.
Musk, who owns Twitter, set a deadline of Saturday for verified users to buy a premium Twitter subscription or lose the checks on their profiles. NYT said in a story Thursday that it would not pay Twitter for verification of its institutional accounts.
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Early Sunday (April 2), Musk tweeted that the NYT checkmark would be removed.
Later he posted disparaging remarks about the newspaper, which has aggressively reported on Twitter and on flaws with partially automated driving systems at Tesla, the electric car company, which he also runs.
“The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting,” Musk tweeted.
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In another tweet, he said, “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.”
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2023
Other NYT accounts such as its business news and opinion pages still had either blue or gold check marks on Sunday, as did multiple reporters for the news organisation.
“We aren’t planning to pay the monthly fee for check mark status for our institutional Twitter accounts,” NYT said in a statement Sunday.
“We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts, except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes,” the newspaper said in a statement Sunday.
The costs of keeping the check marks ranges from USD 8 a month for individual web users to a starting price of USD 1,000 monthly to verify an organization, plus USD 50 monthly for each affiliate or employee account.
Twitter does not verify the individual accounts to ensure they are who they say they are, as was the case with the previous blue check doled out to public figures and others during the platform’s pre-Musk administration.
(With agency inputs)