Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk has yanked away the blue check verification status from celebrities and mainstream news networks and publishers on Thursday, which has led to said individuals and companies reverting to two-year-old children throwing massive temper tantrums, metaphorically stamping their feet and rolling all over the floor. And you know what? I love it. I really, really do it. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t care. This is delicious.
The Daily Wire revealed that Musk put the changes into effect on April 20, which led to accounts that had the famous blue checkmarks in their profiles under previous Twitter ownership to lose their verification status. Individual users who want to be verified pay an $8 per month subscription for Twitter Blue. Organizations and groups pay $1,000 per month. This is all part of Musk’s plan to change up the revenue structure of the company.
“Twitter users with blue checkmarks before the Musk takeover were typically journalists, government officials, celebrities, and other individuals with a significant public profile. The verification model has shifted such that users with blue checkmarks are those who purchase the ability to edit posts, add bold and italic text, see fewer advertisements in their feeds, and write posts as long as 10,000 characters rather than the customary limit of 280 characters,” the report said.
“Some users noted that the loss of verification for pages representing agencies or elected representatives could present dangers as officials seek to publish emergency alerts. The page belonging to the government of New York City, for instance, was impersonated on Thursday by another user, neither of which had verification. Many officials and agencies, including the government of New York City, had a gray checkmark restored to their profiles as of Friday,” the report stated.
Twitter then went on to take away “state-affiliated media” labels from several accounts such as Xinhua News, which is a China state-run news publisher, along with RT, an outlet controlled by Russia. The social media company also removed the “government-funded media” labels they previously stuck on NPR and CBC accounts since the accounts accept funding from the American and Canadian governments respectively. Due to the policy, NPR actually ditched Twitter last week.
“Among the less measured reactions to the move came from several celebrities who complained about the loss of their blue checkmarks and insisted that they would never pay for the distinction. Twitter users mockingly started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of actress Bette Midler so that she could regain her verification after bemoaning the change. Alyssa Milano likewise wondered aloud whether Musk could be ‘liable for defamation or identity theft or fraud’ if another user impersonates her account,” the Daily Wire said.
“Musk also said that he would personally bankroll verification for basketball star LeBron James, actor William Shatner, and author Stephen King, all of whom had been particularly vocal in their refusal to pay the subscription fee. King vowed to his followers on Thursday evening that he had not paid for Twitter Blue; Musk responded ‘you’re welcome namaste,'” the report continued.
Musk stated that the reason he bought Twitter at the end of 2022 was because he wanted to protect a corner of the public square for open dialogue. These changes to the revenue structure of the company have come about due to some major advertisers severing their relationship with the social media platform.
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk commented in a post. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
When Musk first took over the company, one of his first acts was to boot 6,500 of the 8,000 employees working for the platform. Many business leaders hailed the billionaire for managing to save the firm by placing emphasis on hiring essential engineering and technology staff without having any noticeable impact on the functionality of the social media app.
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