Twitter logo becomes Doge as users wait for blue tick to be removed
SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter users anticipated a reckoning over the weekend as verification checkmarks that denoted the accounts of celebrities, politicians and other notable figures and organizations were to be removed en masse.
This settlement did not come.
While Twitter removed the tick mark from some accounts, including that of The New York Times, most verified users retained the symbols, which have long been considered to confer special status and showed that the identity of people at the origin of the accounts had been confirmed by the social media service. Pranks by users trying to exploit the change by impersonating a celebrity or other public figure have been muted, with only a few pranks airing on the platform.
Instead, the biggest change to Twitter came on Monday, when the platform’s bluebird icon was replaced on some accounts with a doge, a popular online icon of a Shiba Inu dog that has become synonymous with Dogecoin, a type of cryptocurrency. After the Twitter logo change, the price of the digital currency soared by more than 30%.
The inaction around verification checkmarks showed that “Twitter is going through a real credibility crisis,” said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies online misinformation. “When they say they’re going to do something now, they haven’t proven that they consistently do those things.”
The changes to the checkmark program are part of moves by Elon Musk, who bought Twitter in October for $44 billion. Last year, he said Twitter would start removing verification checkmarks from users’ profiles unless they pay an $8 monthly fee for Twitter Blue, a subscription service that includes the blue checkmark badge. and white on user profiles.
Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment.
Twitter had previously given away the badges to celebrities, politicians and other notable organizations or individuals for free to distinguish their accounts from those seeking to impersonate them and to show that their identities had been confirmed. It helped Twitter because public figures drove “disproportionate engagement” on the service and celebrities and politicians could post freely without fear of being impersonated, said Lara Cohen, former global marketing and partner manager for Twitter.
Inside Elon Musk’s Twitter
- FTC investigation: Elon Musk attempted to engage with the Federal Trade Commission as the agency intensified an investigation into Twitter’s privacy and data practices, documents show, but was rebuffed.
- Source code leak: Portions of the underlying computer code that Twitter runs on have been leaked online – a rare and major exposure of intellectual property.
- Decrease in value: Musk said Twitter is now worth around $20 billion, according to an email he sent to employees, a significant drop from the $44 billion he paid to buy the company in October.
But after Mr Musk, who calls himself a champion of free speech, announced the change to Twitter’s verification program last year, a wave of impersonation erupted. In November, a user who had paid a tick through Twitter Blue impersonated pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, tweeting that it would provide free insulin to customers. The message sent shares of Eli Lilly plummeting. Other brands have faced similar pranks, causing Twitter to suspend Twitter Blue signups.
Last month, Twitter announcement it would start removing checkmarks on April 1 for those who did not pay for symbols. In addition to individual users paying $8 a month, Twitter planned to charge organizations $1,000 a month for verification with a gold check mark, with some exceptions, according to internal documents seen by The Times.
On Friday, some verified users began to preemptively mourn the loss of their special status by tweeting about their final moments with a checkmark and posting photos of their profiles with their badges. Others have revamped their profiles to impersonate author JK Rowling, NASA and other famous people and organizations.
Some said they wouldn’t pay for something they had been getting for free for a long time. nba star james lebron said in a tweet last week that his checkmark would soon disappear and “if you know me, I won’t pay.”
News outlets such as The Times, The Washington Post and Politico also said they would not pay for the ticks, with some saying the symbol no longer showed credibility and authenticity since anyone could buy it. .
Others argued that the change would level the playing field by allowing anyone who wants a badge to get one.
“Twitter only verified elites and friends of Twitter employees was a mistake,” Epic Games chief executive Tim Sweeney said in a statement. Tweeter on Sunday. “The democratization of verification for $8 was a good thing. Treating everyone the same is a principle.
Yet over the weekend, nearly all verified users kept their badges, leading to speculation whether Mr Musk would carry on or was making an April Fool’s Day joke.
On Saturday evening, in response to a Twitter user who pointed out that the Times had said it would not pay for verification, Mr Musk tweeted that he would remove the news agency check mark from his account. Within an hour, the golden Times verification badge was gone.
Mr. Musk said in a Tweeter Sunday that it was “hypocritical” for The Times to refuse to pay for verification while running its own subscription business.
A Times spokesperson declined to comment on Mr Musk’s tweets.
On Monday, some users started seeing a doge instead of Twitter’s traditional bird logo. The image of the doge dovetailed with Mr. Musk’s own dealings with Dogecoin, for which he had previously tweeted his support. On Friday, lawyers representing Mr. Musk had asked a judge to dismiss a multibillion-dollar racketeering lawsuit that accused the billionaire and Tesla, his electric car company, of manipulating the price of the cryptocurrency with his tweets.
Susan Beachy contributed research.
Leave a Reply