The New York Times recently announced that it had lost its verified Twitter badge late last Sunday after a user of the social media platform flagged to Elon Musk that the news outlet would not pay the monthly fee for keeping it. This surprising turn of events has caused many to take another look at how Twitter verifies accounts and grants them access to special features.
Prior to Musk’s takeover of the site in October, verification badges were given to accounts belonging to notable individuals, businesses, and other organizations in an effort to recognize official accounts, as well as combat imposters. Under this new system, anyone who paid for the company’s Twitter Blue subscription service was entitled to have their account verified. However, due to budgetary concerns, The New York Times decided not to subscribe.
Early Sunday saw The New York Times lose its verification badge after a user reported to Elon Musk that the news outlet had chosen not to pay the subscription fee.
“Oh OK, we’ll take it off then,” the Twitter CEO tweeted in response to the user’s comment. Musk later criticized the Times, calling the Pulitzer Prize-winning news organization “propaganda” and equating its Twitter feed to “diarrhea.”
Though their decision isn't fully understandable from a financial perspective, it ultimately resulted in their verification badge being revoked without warning—a decision which sent shockwaves throughout media circles. Other major news outlets such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and CNN all said they wouldn’t subscribe either, but their check marks were still present Sunday morning.
It was later reported that some users would be allowed to keep their verification badges without paying a subscription fee; these would include Twitter’s top 500 advertisers and the 10,000 most-followed organizations that have previously been verified. As one of those top 20 followed organizations, The New York Times undoubtedly met this criteria—but unfortunately there was never any guarantee or assurance that this would happen before the decision was made.