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Musk strips New York Times of Twitter check mark after paper refuses to pay

Musk strips New York Times of Twitter check mark after paper refuses to pay
New York City police are seen out front of the New York Times Building on Eighth Avenue in New York, New York, USA, 28 June 2018. (Photo: EPA-EFE/PETER FOLEY)

The New York Times has lost its Twitter verified badge, after attracting the ire of billionaire owner Elon Musk over its refusal to pay for the privilege.

The main account of The New York Times, which has about 55 million followers, no longer bears a verification check mark, though several of its subsection accounts remain verified. The NYT Books and Food accounts retain their unpaid legacy blue checks, while NYT Travel bears a gold badge as it’s associated with an official organisation on Twitter. The paper was among the first major news publications to say it will not be paying a fee to have its Twitter accounts verified.

Musk, who has been promulgating a $8-per-month Twitter Blue subscription as the main way to remain verified on his social network, responded by lashing out at the paper, which charges for its own subscription service. He called the publication hypocritical and characterised its coverage as “propaganda”. He has done little to combat the appearance of ad hoc decision-making — responding to a meme about the outlet not paying for the blue badge, he wrote “Oh ok, we’ll take it off then”.

Twitter said it would begin removing unpaid verification marks from April 1. In a now-deleted tweet, Musk suggested his company would give “a few weeks grace” to accounts not yet paying to retain their status, with only those that confirm they won’t pay being stripped. It is unclear if that still holds true.

Twitter responded to a request for comment with a poop emoji, its now-automated response to press queries. “We aren’t planning to pay the monthly fee for check mark status for our institutional Twitter accounts,” said a New York Times spokesperson, adding it will only reimburse reporters for using Twitter Blue “in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes”.

NY Times is being incredible hypocritical here, as they are super aggressive about forcing everyone to pay *their* subscription

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2023

Many users with the blue check — typically given to major news sources, celebrities and political figures — have pushed back against the move to charge for it. Other news organisations such as CNN and the Los Angeles Times have said they do not plan to pay for Twitter verification. Bloomberg News has also said that it won’t reimburse staff for Twitter Blue accounts.

Read More: Twitter Users Balk at Paying $8 a Month for Musk’s Blue Check

The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2023

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