Twitter Check Mark: What the Removal of Verification Means for the New York Times

by Gabriel Martinez
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Twitter has taken away the special check mark next to The New York Times’ main account. This is a big deal because many famous people on Twitter had this check mark to help prove they are who they say they are and not someone pretending to be them.

Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has set a deadline of Saturday for all verified users. If they don’t buy the premium version of Twitter before this date, then the checks that appear on their profiles will be gone. According to ‘The Times’ newspaper, they won’t pay Twitter to verify their institutional accounts.

On Sunday morning, Elon Musk wrote a tweet that said the New York Times would remove its check mark. Later he posted mean comments about the newspaper which had done research on how well Twitter worked and if Tesla’s self-driving cars were working properly.

Other accounts related to the New York Times (like their Business News and Opinion Pages) still had either blue or gold check marks by Sunday afternoon – including many of their reporters.

The Times announced on Sunday that they won’t be paying the monthly charges for their accounts to get a check mark status, and they also won’t be giving money to reporters so they can get Twitter Blue on their personal accounts.

Big Big News said that they won’t pay either but had check marks on their accounts on Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday, Twitter did not reply to questions about taking away the verification badge from The New York Times.

Using the check mark on Twitter is not free. It costs either $8 a month for individual web users, or if an organization wants to use it, that’s going to cost at least $1,000 monthly and then another $50 for each extra user. This type of check mark is different from before because Twitter isn’t checking who people actually are — like they did before when giving them out to public figures and others.

Though the price for a Twitter Blue subscription may not be high, some well known people like LeBron James, William Shatner from Star Trek, and actor Jason Alexander from Seinfeld don’t want to join. Jason even said that he’ll leave Twitter if Elon Musk takes away his special blue check mark.

The White House told its staff not to sign up for the premium accounts on Twitter. Even though President Joe Biden and some other people in his Cabinet got a free gray mark, lower-level staff won’t be getting Twitter Blue unless they pay for it themselves. A staffer, Rob Flaherty, said that if any impersonations (meaning someone pretending to be someone else) pop up that abuse Twitter’s rules, we should tell Twitter about it using their “impersonation portal”.

Alexander, the actor, said that if he loses his “blue mark”, people could pretend to be him and he won’t be recognized. He also tweeted that if someone has his blue mark, they would be an imposter instead of him.

After buying Twitter for a lot of money, about $44 billion, in October, Elon Musk has been trying to increase the platform’s income by encouraging people to spend money on a special subscription. But at the same time, he believes that the blue checkmark sign should not be used as a badge or “corrupt” way of showing off by elite personalities, news reporters, and other people who get this verification without paying.

Around 14 years ago, Twitter began verifying people with a blue check mark to help protect famous people from fake accounts pretending to be them. The verifications weren’t just for celebrities but also politicians, activists, any person in the news and even journalists who weren’t very well known but wrote at small newspapers around the world. These verified accounts were usually not big stars and didn’t need to be.

When Musk took over Twitter, one of the first things he did was start a service where people could pay $8 each month to get what’s called a “blue check”. But soon fake accounts started to appear, including those pretending to be from Nintendo, Eli Lilly and Musk’s own companies Tesla and SpaceX. Because of this, Twitter had to turn off the service only days after they had started it.

If you subscribe, the service costs $8 a month for web users and $11 a month for people using smartphones. You can also expect to see fewer ads, post longer videos, and have your tweets be much more visible.

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