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Twitter Removes Legacy Blue Ticks from Accounts

Elon Musk offered to sell the blue badge to anyone who would pay $8 a month, in a move he said last year would “democratize journalism & empower the voice of the people.”

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Twitter has begun the mass removal of its blue ticks, as the symbol previously used to signify a verified account vanished from users including the Pope, Donald Trump and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Owner Elon Musk, who has seen his $44 billion investment in the site shrivel, earlier pledged to get rid of what he described as a “lords & peasants system.”

He offered instead to sell the blue badge to anyone who would pay $8 a month, in a move he said last year would “democratize journalism & empower the voice of the people.”

Earlier dates set for the rollback of the ticks – predominately used by celebrities, journalists and politicians – have slipped by without noticeable action.

But now high-profile accounts, as well as those of many reporters at AFP and other news organisations, appeared to have had the checkmarks removed.

The removals follow spats between Twitter and various news organisations that have objected to labels appended to their accounts indicating they were “state affiliated” or “government funded.”

Sweden’s public radio Sveriges Radio said this week it would stop tweeting, following in the footsteps of US radio station NPR and Canadian broadcaster CBC.

Mr Musk’s tumultuous ownership of Twitter has seen thousands of staff made redundant and advertisers fleeing the platform.

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Users complain that hate speech and misinformation has proliferated and accounts with extreme views are gaining traction due to less content moderation.

This month, a closely watched forecast said Twitter’s income from advertising will fall by a large margin in 2023.

Analysts at Insider Intelligence said they were slashing an earlier worldwide revenue estimate of $4.74 billion by more than a third to $2.98 billion as trust deteriorates.

According to research firm Pathmatics, 14 of the top 30 advertisers on Twitter stopped advertising on the platform since Mr Musk took charge on 27 October last year.

Insider Intelligence noted that Mr Musk’s efforts to build up a subscription service “won’t make up for the lost ad revenue.”

Meanwhile, Twitter dropped the “Government-funded Media” tag, which implies government involvement in editorial content, on some accounts like National Public Radio (NPR) and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), their accounts showed today.

Besides NPR and CBC, the tag, labeled ‘state-affiliated media’ earlier, was also absent from the British Broadcasting Corp’s (BBC) Twitter account.


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