The New York Times lost its Blue V on Twitter after it said it would not pay to remain accredited, the newspaper said on April 3.
Twitter announced that Blue V certifications will become part of paid subscriptions starting April 1 and began removing certifications from accounts that don’t pay. The New York Times, along with several other organizations and celebrities, said they would not pay for Blue V certification.
That sparked Elon Musk to launch a barrage of insults against the newspaper. Musk wrote on Twitter, “The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even funny.” He added: “Moreover, their tweets amount to diarrhea. Unreadable.”
Twitter has yet to issue an official comment, and The New York Times has not responded to Musk’s comments.
Under Twitter’s new rules, Blue V’s that once showed officially verified accounts will begin to be removed from unpaid accounts. Organizations seeking verification must pay a monthly fee of $1,000 to get the Yellow V mark, while individual accounts must pay $8 a month to get the Blue V.
The subscription service will generate revenue for Twitter, but there are concerns that without the verification process, it will be difficult to distinguish between real accounts and imposters.
In addition to not paying for subscriptions, the paper said it would not pay for verification of its reporters’ Twitter accounts except in “rare cases where such identities are critical to the story,” a spokeswoman said, according to the New York Times.
The newspaper, which has nearly 55 million Twitter followers, lost its accreditation label after the announcement. But it’s unclear whether all organizations must sign up for the subscription service to maintain verified status.
The New York Times reported, citing an internal Twitter document that said the 10,000 organizations with the most followers on Twitter would be exempt from the rule.
Since last December, Twitter has introduced three different colors of authentication: gold V for business organizations, gray V for government-affiliated accounts or multilateral organizations, and blue V for personal accounts.
Many news organizations, including CNN, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, have said they won’t pay for Twitter authentication either, but all of those companies now have Gold V.
Other New York Times accounts, such as The New York Times Arts and The New York Times Travel, also have Gold V.
The removal of Blue V seems to be happening gradually. This may be because it is largely a manual process, according to former employees of the company, as quoted by the Washington Post.
Celebrities like U.S. basketball star LeBron James, who says he won’t pay for Twitter authentication, still have Blue V. So does American rapper Ice-T, who has also criticized the new fee system.