Thousands of verified users on Twitter will soon lose their blue check marks, as the tech company rolls out a new subscription starting April 1, which requires users to pay a fee to keep their verified status.
Ahead of the policy change, some celebrities and prominent media and government organizations tweeted that they wouldn’t pay for their blue checks with some saying it would be embarrassing to do so.
The View From the Media
The New York Times said Thursday that it would not pay a monthly fee to retain its verification status for its “institutional Twitter accounts.” A Times spokesperson said the company would not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue, “except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes.” Twitter later removed the blue tick from the Times’ main account.
Twitter Blue, the subscription that allows users to keep a blue check, promises to promote users’ tweets.
CNN, The Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, POLITICO, and Vox all issued similarly worded statements saying that they would not pay a monthly fee for their news accounts and those of most of their employees.
The Washington Post said that they would not support Twitter Blue’s service, as “it’s evident that verified checkmarks no longer represent authority and expertise.”
The New Yorker’s food writer Helen Rosner called paying for Twitter Blue “the loserest possible thing on earth,” saying that “the idea that everyone would then be able to see that I paid for it makes it an instant absolutely not nope never.”
The View From the White House
On Friday, Axios reported that the White House would not pay for Twitter verification.
“It is our understanding that Twitter Blue does not provide person-level verification as a service. Thus, a blue check mark will now simply serve as a verification that the account is a paid user,” White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty said in an internal email to staff.
Official organizations such as the White House and several other government-run accounts are said to retain a silver checkmark to prove authenticity. But at the moment, it is unclear who exactly will be given the silver checkmark.
The White House’s guidance does not apply to individual agencies.
The View From Celebrities
U.S. basketball player LeBron James wrote in a now-viral tweet that he wouldn’t be paying to keep his blue check.
“If you know me, I ain’t paying the 5,” he said in a post that got thousands of likes and retweets from other notable figures.
Actor William Shatner confronted Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Twitter about having to “pay for something you gave me for free.” Shatner then told Musk that “the $7/mo ‘equality’ claim seems like a money grab,” adding that he would go “checkless” until Twitter released some new guardrails to prevent false blue check incidents.