Elon Musk has blinked in the face of controversy, removing the “government-funded” label from the Twitter accounts of multiple media organizations — including NPR and the CBC — after the media organizations threatened to leave the platform.
NBC News reports that following controversy, Twitter has removed labels identifying global media organizations as government-funded or state-affiliated, while also stripping blue verification checkmarks from legacy verified accounts that don’t pay for Twitter Blue. This move has caused high-profile users to raise concerns about authenticating accurate information sources and the dangers of impersonation on the platform.
Major media organizations like Swedish public radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., and NPR in the United States were among those that were no longer labeled. After their accounts were classified as state-affiliated media, these organizations stopped using Twitter. These media outlets claimed that even after Twitter changed the label to “government-funded media,” it was still deceptive.
As a result of Twitter’s new policy, many well-known users, including stars like Beyoncé, Pope Francis, and Oprah Winfrey, lost their blue verification checkmarks. Many users have expressed confusion and criticism over the platform’s verification system. The changes have sparked doubts about the platform’s capability to deliver accurate and current information from reliable sources, particularly in times of emergency. Although Twitter provides gray checks for government entities and their affiliates and gold checks for “verified organizations,” it is still unclear how the social media network selects which entities receive these verifications.
One of Elon Musk’s first actions after purchasing Twitter was to introduce a service offering blue checkmarks to anyone willing to pay $8 monthly. However, as a result of the rapid influx of fake accounts, Twitter was forced to temporarily suspend the service.
The price of the relaunched service has increased to $11 per month for iPhone or Android app users and $8 per month for web users. The company has promised that subscribers will receive a number of features, including less advertising, longer video uploads, and having their tweets featured more prominently on the timeline. The platform continues to primarily rely on advertising revenue despite Musk’s push for premium subscriptions to increase revenue. Verified organizations are asked to pay $1,000 a month to reach the masses.
As of Thursday, less than five percent of legacy verified accounts that have joined Twitter Blue, according to research by Travis Brown, a Berlin-based developer of social media tracking software.
Read more at NBC News here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan