News organizations say they won't pay for Elon Musk's Twitter Blue because 'verified checkmarks no longer represent authority and expertise'
Some news organizations say they won't pay for their reporters to get Twitter Blue.
The New York Times and LA Times said they won't pay to get their Twitter accounts verified either.
Twitter owner Elon Musk began getting rid of the site's "legacy" checkmarks Saturday.
The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times say they don't plan to pay for their Twitter accounts or those of their reporters to get blue checks.
Since taking over the social-media platform in late October, Elon Musk has rolled out sweeping changes to both the site and the wider company. One of his most contentious projects has been to drastically switch up Twitter Blue, the site's subscription service. Musk's changes include upping the price to $8 a month and only allowing accounts with Twitter Blue to edit tweets, vote in polls, and see fewer ads.
Twitter Blue is also required for accounts to get blue checkmarks next to their names. Historically, the checks denoted that an account was "authentic, notable, and active." But Musk has criticized this as a "lords & peasants" system that he described as "bullshit," and started getting rid of the so-called legacy checkmarks Saturday.
Musk has also introduced gold checkmarks for businesses, and will starting charging $1,000 per month for "Verified Organizations" – including news outlets – to keep them. Adding checks to affiliated accounts, such as for specific TV shows or individual employees, will cost the company $50 per month.
Musk's changes have sparked a huge backlash. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that the changes were "ripe for targeted harassment" and some celebrities have cited concerns about other accounts impersonating them.
Newsrooms don't seem happy about the changes, either.
The Washington Post said it "will not pay for Twitter Blue service as an institution or on behalf of our journalists" because "it's evident that verified checkmarks no longer represent authority and expertise," per CNN.
"We aren't planning to pay the monthly fee for check mark status for our institutional Twitter accounts," a New York Times spokesperson similarly told Insider. "We also will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue for personal accounts, except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes."
The Times no longer has a checkmark on its Twitter profile.
Sara Yasin, managing editor of the Los Angeles Times, wrote in an internal memo viewed by Insider that the company wasn't planning to pay for Twitter Blue subscriptions for staff for the time being, noting that the site was "not as reliable as it once was" and that being verified "no longer establishes authority or credibility."
"We will not be paying to verify our organization on Twitter either," Yasin continued. "It's still unclear if there's actual value in doing so, beyond identifying all of us as LA Times staffers."
The LA Times still had a gold checkmark on its Twitter profile Sunday.
Insider also understands that the BBC, the UK's national broadcaster, will not pay for verification for individual journalists.
A BBC spokesperson told Insider it had "issued updated guidance to staff relating to Twitter's new verification process, and will continue to monitor the changes."
Leaders at BuzzFeed News, HuffPost, Politico, and Vox Media – which owns publications including The Verge, New York magazine, Thrillist, and Vox – similarly told staff that they wouldn't fund their Twitter Blue subscriptions if they chose to get them, CNN reported.
CNN itself didn't plan to "pay for Twitter Blue subscriptions for either our brand or individual accounts," with a few exceptions, said Athan Stephanopoulos, its chief digital officer, in a staff memo Friday.
British newspaper The Telegraph told Insider that it was reviewing the new feature and would "consider all options."
Insider also confirmed that it will not be paying for Twitter Blue.
"Insider is not planning on paying for Twitter Blue service as a news organization or on behalf of our journalists. The value of a Blue checkmark was that it said the person was who they said they are," a company spokesperson said.
"Now a Blue checkmark just says they are a Twitter Blue subscriber. That doesn't help Twitter users, or our readers."
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