On April 2, 2023, social media platform Twitter began removing verified check marks from accounts that did not pay for its new subscription service, Twitter Blue. However, one of the most notable accounts to lose its verification was that of The New York Times.
The newspaper, which has 54.9 million followers on its main account, refused to pay the monthly fee required to keep its verified status, prompting Twitter CEO Elon Musk to publicly announce the removal of the verification symbol. Musk's announcement came in response to a tweet from a user who had shared an article stating that The New York Times would not be paying for verification.
The decision to remove the verification badge from The New York Times' account has caused controversy, with some arguing that the move undermines the credibility of the newspaper and raises questions about the role of Twitter in verifying the legitimacy of news sources.
Twitter's decision to introduce a paid subscription service for verified check marks has been criticized by some as a move towards monetizing verification, rather than ensuring the accuracy and reliability of information on the platform. The subscription service costs $8 a month for individuals, and $1,000 a month for organizations such as businesses, non-profit groups, or government institutions.
The decision to charge for verified check marks has been seen as a way for Twitter to boost revenue and combat trolls and bots on the platform. However, security experts have warned that the move could worsen the spread of disinformation and impersonation on Twitter.
The controversy over Twitter's new subscription service for verified check marks has also raised questions about the role of social media platforms in regulating and verifying information. Critics argue that social media platforms have a responsibility to ensure that information is accurate and reliable, particularly when it comes to news sources.
The New York Times is not the only major news organization to refuse to pay for verified check marks. Other organizations, including CNN, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Politico, and Vox have also announced that they will not pay for verified check marks for their brands' accounts or those of their reporters.
The decision by these news organizations not to pay for verified check marks suggests that there is growing concern among journalists and media organizations about the role of social media platforms in the dissemination of news and information.
In addition to the controversy over verified check marks, Twitter has also faced criticism over its handling of hate speech and online harassment. Critics argue that the platform has failed to effectively police hate speech and other forms of harmful content, leading to a toxic online environment.
Twitter has responded to these criticisms by introducing new policies and tools designed to combat hate speech and online harassment. However, these efforts have been criticized by some as insufficient, and there is a growing call for greater regulation of social media platforms to ensure that they are not used to spread harmful content.
The controversy over Twitter's new subscription service for verified check marks is likely to continue, as more organizations and individuals decide whether or not to pay for verification. However, the decision to remove the verification badge from The New York Times' account has raised important questions about the role of social media platforms in verifying the legitimacy of news sources, and the responsibility of these platforms to ensure that information is accurate and reliable.
As social media platforms continue to play an increasingly important role in the dissemination of news and information, it is essential that these platforms take steps to ensure that they are not being used to spread disinformation or harmful content. The controversy over verified check marks is just one example of the challenges facing social media platforms, and it is clear that more needs to be done to address these challenges and ensure the integrity of information online.