Fact Check: No, Elon Musk isn't charging they/them users more for Twitter verification

The claim: Elon Musk said journalists who use they/them pronouns will pay extra for verification

After billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, he began implementing several controversial changes. One proposed change, though its rollout is now on hold indefinitely, would require Twitter users to pay $8 every month to receive a blue checkmark.

This mark was once reserved for accounts of public interest that Twitter had verified met certain criteria. According to Musk, the new system will "democratize journalism" and "empower the voice of the people."

Some social media users are claiming Musk also said journalists who use they/them pronouns will have to pay extra for verification.

"BREAKING: @elonmusk says journalists with 'they/them' pronouns in bio will pay $16 monthly fee instead of the standard $8 for verification because 'they' identify as multiple people," reads the screenshot of a tweet in a Nov. 30 Instagram post (direct link, archived link).

The post received more than 9,000 likes in two days. Other versions of the claim on Instagram garnered thousands more likes. The original tweet was posted on Nov. 6 by former BlazeTV host Elijah Schaffer.

Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks

But there is no evidence Musk planned to charge any they/them pronoun users – including journalists – more for verification or that he made any comments about it.

USA TODAY reached out to Twitter as well as Schaffer and users who shared the claim for comment.

No evidence Musk made such a comment

There is no evidence Twitter plans to make journalists who use they/them pronouns pay extra for verification. There is no record of Musk announcing this policy on his Twitter account nor are there any credible news reports of this purported announcement.

Schaffer, whose Tweet many users are refering to, did not attribute the information to a source.

A day after Schaffer's tweet, a Musk parody account tweeted that "Users with 'They/Them' pronouns in bio will pay $16, $24 or $32 for verification instead of $8 depending on how many people they identify as."

Fact check: Fabricated tweet from Elon Musk circulates online after news of Twitter acquisition

Musk has previously made negative comments about pronoun usage, calling it "an esthetic nightmare."

Check Your Fact, Reuters and Lead Stories also debunked the claim.

USA TODAY previously debunked claims about Musk, including that he fired Twitter’s legal officer live on air and that an outgoing Twitter employee suspended his account.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Musk said journalists who use they/them pronouns will pay extra for verification. There is no evidence that Twitter plans to charge any they/them pronoun users more for verification. In addition, Musk's Twitter account does not contain such an announcement nor are there are any credible news reports that he made comments about it.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact Check: False claim about they/them pronouns on Twitter circulates