Twitter removed the blue “verified” checkmark from the New York Times account last Sunday. The news organization said that it won’t pay for the Twitter Blue subscription.
This move appears to have been personally encouraged by Musk, who in a tweet said that they would remove the checkmark if the New York Times didn’t want to pay.
Twitter had said that they would be removing legacy blue marks starting April 1st. The platform implemented a system that would give a blue mark to anyone who pays for it, making it harder to distinguish between legitimate and fake accounts. The subscription costs $8 dollars per month, however for organizations that want to verify their accounts, the price is $1000 per month, plus an additional $50 for each affiliated account.
Musk has been in a fight against U.S. journalists who have criticized him. In December, Musk suspended the accounts of journalists from CNN, the New York Times, The Washington Post and other outlets, claiming that the accused reporters posted “basically assassination coordinates” for him and his family. He did not show proof.
More news organizations have said that they are not going to pay for the check marks on Twitter. Some of these are Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, POLITICO, Vox and CNN.
In the web page for verification for accounts, Twitter writes “We’re creating the most trusted place on the internet for organizations to verify their affiliations and reach their followers.” Still, there are a lot of critics of the new measures of Elon Musk against the media.
Other organizations have pointed out that paying for a check mark doesn’t automatically make you a journalist. The New York Times is still one of the biggest accounts on Twitter, ranking 24th.