The New York Times building in New York City, USA, 16 July 2020. EFE-EPA FILE/JUSTIN LANE

New York Times’ Twitter account loses blue tick amid Musk backlash

New York City, Apr 2 (EFE).- The blue check mark has been removed from the New York Times’ main Twitter account two days after the news organization said it would not pay to remain verified, attracting backlash from the platform’s owner.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse for the fourth day of the trial of Tesla shareholders lawsuit against Musk in San Francisco, California, USA, 24 January 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/GEORGE NIKITIN

Twitter announced last week that from Apr. 1, users would be required to pay $8 and businesses $1,000 as a subscription to Twitter Blue in order to keep the “legacy” ticks they had been awarded as verified accounts before Elon Musk took over the company.

While the badge had disappeared from the organization’s main @nytimes account on Sunday, blue ticks remained on its other accounts, such as New York Times Music and New York Times Books, as well as many other verified accounts of news organizations and celebrities who had said they would not pay to keep them.

With 55 million followers, the outlet’s main account is among the 25 most-followed on the social network.

On Friday, the Times said that it was not willing to pay for a badge for its institutional accounts and that it would not reimburse its journalists for subscriptions to Twitter Blue, “except in rare cases when it was necessary for reporting.”

Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, USA, 18 November 2022. EFE-EPA FILE/GEORGE NIKITIN

In response, Musk publicly attacked the news organization.

“The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting,” Musk wrote on the platform.

“Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It’s unreadable.”

According to The Washington Post, Musk wrote Sunday morning in a now-deleted tweet that the company would give verified accounts “a few weeks grace, unless they tell they won’t pay now, in which we will remove it.”

On Sunday night, gold check marks reserved for official organizations remained on the accounts of the Washington Post, the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times, which had also refused to pay for the new service.

Twitter does not verify individual accounts to make sure they are who they represent, as was the case before Musk took over.

When clicking on a user account’s blue tick, a pop-up says: “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue or is a legacy verified account.”

Therefore, it does not clarify whether the user has just paid a subscription fee to have the tick, or because they had been vetted and verified prior to the new service entering into force.

Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander said on his account that there were “bigger issues in the world than the blue verified tick next to my name…. But without it, anyone can allege to be me. So if I lose that tick know I will leave this platform.”

His tick was still on his account on Sunday night, as was that of basketball star LeBron James, who has 52 million followers and who said on Friday that he would not pay to keep his verification. EFE