New York Times loses Twitter ‘verified’ tick as Musk’s changes take effect

·3 min read

Twitter has removed the “verified” blue tick from the main profile of The New York Times, after the news organisation said it would not sign up for Elon Musk’s new scheme of paid-for verification.

On Sunday, the outlet’s Twitter page showed that it no longer had any form of verification badge, with the blue tick removed and not replaced with the gold tick Twitter has started applying to “official organisations”.

Mr Musk’s changes to the verification system on Twitter have been criticised as increasing opportunities for imposters to spread disinformation on the platform.

Earlier this week CNN reporter Oliver Darcy reported that the NYT would not be paying for verification, quoting a spokesperson as saying: “We aren’t planning to pay the monthly fee for verification of our institutional Twitter accounts.”

“We also will not reimburse reporters for the verification of personal accounts,” the spokesperson added, “except in rare instances where verified status would be essential for reporting purposes.”

Twitter had said it would start removing its “legacy” verification ticks from 1 April.

Under Twitter’s new rules, organisations can apply for a new “gold” tick, while individuals must pay for a Twitter Blue subscription, costing £11 a month for a selection of new tools – longer tweets, the ability to edit posts, higher weighting in the prioritisation algorithm, and one of those blue checks.

Other publications like The Los Angeles Times, as well as public bodies like the White House and celebrities including Lebron James have also said publicly that they would not pay for blue tick services.

The social media platform’s verification, denoted by a blue check next to the name of the user’s handle, was launched in 2009, three years after the site itself.

It was first introduced after baseball legend Tony La Russa filed a lawsuit against Twitter in 2009 over an impersonator.

The idea of verification was that it could prove the identity of a user.

Earlier Axios reported that the White House will also not pay to have its staff’s profiles verified.

“It is our understanding that Twitter Blue does not provide person-level verification as a service. Thus, a blue check mark will now simply serve as a verification that the account is a paid user,” White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty told staffers in an email sent Friday afternoon, according to the outlet.

Other famous figures who have rejected the idea of paying for their verified accounts include Chrissy Teigen, Dionne Warwick and Ben Stiller.

Mr Musk has previously criticised Twitter’s verification programme as a “lords and peasants” system.