Analysis

Blue tick chaos and a Dogecoin logo: what's going on with Twitter?

Elon Musk’s influence at Twitter is starting to be felt within the product itself (Image: NationalWorld / Getty Images)Elon Musk’s influence at Twitter is starting to be felt within the product itself (Image: NationalWorld / Getty Images)
Elon Musk’s influence at Twitter is starting to be felt within the product itself (Image: NationalWorld / Getty Images) | NationalWorld / Getty Images
Even by Elon Musk's standards, the past few days have been turbulent at Twitter, with a botched verification launch and now a "late April Fool", writes Adam Gearing

The New York Times lost its blue tick on Twitter after confirming it would not pay the newly-introduced subscription fee that Elon Musk is requesting from the platform’s high-profile users. The newspaper is one of the many thousands of “legacy verified” accounts on Twitter - those that had previously arranged their verification with the previous management structure of the social media platform - but the only one that has been directly targeted.

Following the confirmation that the New York Times would not be paying the subscription fee upon its introduction on 1 April, Musk took to Twitter to say that "the real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn't even interesting" before adding: "Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhoea. It's unreadable." Neither party has commented further.

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As part of the new rules, organisations that want to be verified on Twitter will now have to pay a monthly fee of $1,000 (£810) to receive a gold verification badge - a new type of verification introduced since Musk took control of the platform. This follows the introduction of a similar policy for individual users, which saw them pay $8 (£6.40) to receive a blue-tick verification - the same colour that was used for organisations, celebrities and journalists before Musk took over.

The move to introduce paid-for verifications comes as Musk aims to make the social media platform profitable, following reports it was losing up to $4 million a day when the Tesla founder purchased it last year. The new verification strategy - if that’s what you can call it - is as controversial as it is problematic. Users have reported worries over accounts impersonating them, and in the first iteration of paid-for verifications it was possible to see who had signed up to Twitter Blue - this feature now appears to have been removed, after it became clear that a blue tick would become a source of embarrassment for many.

It is also not known how long it will take legacy verified users to have their blue ticks removed, with many accounts still carrying theirs three days after the removal policy was announced. So far, it appears the only prominent brand to lose its blue tick is The New York Times. Despite this, many high-profile celebrities have come out in opposition to the move, including basketball star LeBron James and rapper Ice-T.

In other Twitter news, Musk changed the Twitter logo on the website and app to a picture of a Shiba Inu, reportedly as a late-April-Fools prank associated with the cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which also uses the logo. Musk tweeted out a meme to confirm the temporary change. In response, the official Dogecoin account tweeted “Very currency. Wow. Much Coin. How Money. So Crypto.”

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Musk is in a long-running dispute with the cryptocurrency giant’s investors. The billionaire recently petitioned a US court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against him by Dogecoin investors for $258 billion over an alleged pyramid scheme. It is not yet known when or how long the Twitter logo will remain as a picture of a Shiba Inu before returning to its traditional blue bird. Whatever happens, it seems clear that Elon Musk is intent on running Twitter as his personal plaything.

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