After a broad withdrawal of blue checkmarks from celebrities, journalists, and governmental organizations, Twitter users awoke on Friday to even more disarray on the platform than they had grown accustomed to in recent months under CEO Elon Musk.
The removal of labels that had previously been used to denote Chinese and Russian propaganda, as well as the company's hasty attempt to individually re-verify some well-known figures, signaled the end of traditional verification and the start of a fundamentally different information regime on Twitter.As a result of those organizations' seeming refusal to pay for the badges, which now cost $1,000 per month, a wide range of media outlets lost the gold verification badges Musk's team had created months earlier as an alternative to conventional brand authentication.
LeBron James, William Shatner, and Stephen King were among the well-known Twitter users who declined to pay to maintain their verification badges, which prompted Musk to personally step in. Musk announced on Thursday that he will pay for James, Shatner, and King's profiles to remain verified out of his own cash, seemingly seeing the issues that may arise if those users became unverified.
Though some of the more obvious problems with the launch may be resolved in the upcoming days, the change's overall effect has been to make it more challenging for users to assess the validity of an account, possibly undermining Twitter's crucial function as a hub for news. Twitter verification is no longer a sign that a person is who they claim to be; instead, it shows that someone has subscribed to Twitter Blue, the company's subscription service, and has paid for it.
Similar instability resulted from earlier verification experimentations, which forced Twitter to repeatedly delay the implementation. Despite a severe fall in its core ad sales business, Twitter persisted with its paid verification strategy in the hopes of boosting membership revenue.
The official government account for New York City tweeted Thursday night: "This is an authentic Twitter account representing the New York City Government." This was in response to the update on Thursday that removed verification.
Additionally, Twitter deactivated the "state-affiliated media" branding on the accounts of RT and China's Xinhua News.