Twitter removes verification badges from accounts that don't pay for subscription
Twitter has started to remove the blue tick verification badge from accounts that had previously been verified, following the announcement that the blue ticks would be part of a paid subscription starting from April 1st.
Under the new rules, organisations and individuals must pay a monthly fee of $1,000 and $8 respectively to obtain a gold or blue verification badge. This has generated revenue for Twitter, but concerns have been raised that it will be difficult to distinguish genuine accounts from impersonators without verification.
New York Times refuses to pay for the tick
The New York Times, along with several other organisations and celebrities, has refused to pay for the tick. Following the announcement, the newspaper lost its verification badge. The newspaper, which has almost 55 million Twitter followers, said it would not pay for the verification of its journalists' Twitter accounts, apart from in "rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes", according to a spokesperson. It is unclear whether all organisations must sign up to the subscription service in order to remain verified.
Elon Musk criticizes New York Times
The New York Times decision prompted Elon Musk, who owns Twitter, to criticize the newspaper on the platform. He wrote: "The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn't even interesting", adding "Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It's unreadable". There has been no official comment from Twitter and the New York Times has not responded to Mr Musk's comments.
Exemptions for some organizations
Ten thousand of the most-followed organisations on Twitter will be exempt from the rules, according to an internal Twitter document cited by the New York Times. The blue tick removal seems to be happening gradually, possibly due to the largely manual process involved in the verification process, according to The Washington Post, citing former employees of the company.
Celebrities such as basketball player LeBron James and rapper Ice-T, who have criticised the new fee-paying system, still have their blue tick verification badges.