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Twitter Removes New York Times Verified Badge on Elon Musk’s Order ft


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

The move continues Musk’s years-long grudge against American journalists who have reported critically on him, and will increase the risks of impersonation. It also contradicts an internal plan, first reported by the Times on Thursday, to keep the badges of its 10,000 most followed organizations, regardless of whether they paid or not.

Twitter had said it would start winding down its traditional verification program starting Saturday, removing the blue checkmark icons it had applied for years to the accounts of verified businesses, journalists and public figures.

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

On Sunday morning, the Times – Twitter’s 24th most followed countwith more than 54 million followers, it was one of a few dozen accounts to have the badge removed, according to data compiled by Travis Brown, a software developer who has been tracking the changes.

Twitter’s blue check mark was loved and hated. Now it’s pay to play.

The move appears to have been personally led or encouraged by Musk, who had answered on Saturday night to a meme describing Twitter’s decision not to pay for Twitter verification by saying, “Oh okay, we’ll take it down then.”

The Times, The Washington Post and other news organizations said Thursday they would not pay for verification of their news organizations or journalists, though the Times said there could be some rare exceptions where the mark could “be essential for news purposes.” ”.

When asked about the move on Sunday, a Times spokesperson reiterated that the news organization does not yet “plan to pay the monthly fee for checkmark status for our institutional Twitter accounts.”

Musk did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

It was not clear why other accounts still had their badge. The Post reported Friday that removing the verification badges would require extensive manual labor due to the company’s error-prone software, which one former employee described as “everything duct-taped together.”

In a deleted tweet early Sunday morning, Musk had saying the company would give verified accounts “a few weeks grace, unless they say they won’t pay now, at which time we’ll remove it.”

Musk overnight also tweeted several attacks on The Times, saying “their propaganda isn’t even interesting.”

Twitter, as a company policy imposed by Musk, no longer responds to journalists’ questions on any topic. In December, he suspended several journalists, including this reporter, for tweeting about the company’s sudden suspensions of accounts that shared public data about Musk’s private jet flights.

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Although Musk said Friday that he wants to make Twitter “the most trusted place on the Internet,” the move will likely make it more difficult for Twitter users to distinguish between legitimate and fake accounts. Pranksters and trolls on the platform have already begun changing their names and photos to impersonate celebrities, companies, and politicians.

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

While the main Times account no longer has a checkmark icon, the accounts at its other properties still do.

So do celebrity accounts, including basketball icon LeBron James, who tweeted on Friday to his more than 52 million followers, “Well I guess my blue (checkmark) will be gone soon because if you know me I won’t pay the 5.”



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