Following Twitter’s announcement that blue ticks would be part of a paid subscription starting from 1st April, the social media platform has begun removing verification badges from accounts that already had them.
Among the organizations and celebrities who said they wouldn’t pay for the tick is The New York Times, which subsequently lost its blue tick on Twitter.
This decision by the newspaper led to Elon Musk hurling insults at them.
“The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting”, Mr Musk, who owns Twitter, wrote on the platform.
“Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It’s unreadable,” he added.
Mr Musk’s comments have not received an official response from the New York Times or Twitter.
Twitter has begun removing blue verification badges from accounts that have not paid for them, after announcing that they would become part of a paid subscription from 1 April.
The New York Times, among other organisations and celebrities, said it would not pay for the badge. This move prompted Elon Musk to hurl insults at the newspaper.
Under the new rules, organisations must pay a monthly fee of $1,000 (£810) to receive a gold verification badge, while individuals must pay $8 (£6.40) per month for a blue one.
Although the subscription service will generate revenue for Twitter, concerns have been raised that without verification, it will be difficult to distinguish real accounts from impersonators.
A spokesperson for the New York Times said that the publication would not pay for the verification of journalists’ Twitter accounts, except in “rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes”.
Following this announcement, the newspaper, which has nearly 55 million Twitter followers, lost its verification badge. It is unclear whether all organisations must sign up to the subscription service to maintain verification.
However, an internal Twitter document cited by the New York Times reported that the top 10,000 most-followed organisations on Twitter would be exempt from the rules.
Twitter introduced three different coloured verification badges in December: gold for businesses, grey for government-affiliated or multilateral organisations, and blue for individuals.
Many news organisations, including CNN, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post, which have also refused to pay for verification, have now been given gold badges.
The removal of blue badges appears to be a gradual process, likely due to the fact that it is largely a manual process, according to former Twitter employees cited by The Washington Post. LeBron James and Ice-T, two celebrities who have criticised the new fee-paying system, still have their blue badges.