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Musk calls New York Times 'propaganda'; outlet loses Twitter verified status after refusing to pay for it

Image source: Twitter screenshot

Elon Musk called the New York Times "propaganda" and its Twitter feed "diarrhea" amid the outlet refusing to pay for and subsequently losing its verified status on the platform, Reuters and other outlets reported Sunday.

"The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting," Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted Sunday.

Musk doubled down in a second tweet, calling the outlet's feed "unreadable" and "the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea."

The New York Times announced Friday that it would not pay for the verified badge for its institutional account. The outlet also said it will not reimburse reporters for Twitter Blue personal accounts, "except in rare instances where this status would be essential for reporting purposes," an NYT spokesperson told Reuters.

Twitter announced March 23 that the company would start "winding down" its legacy verified program and removing the associated check mark badges April 1.

As promised, the legacy golden check mark was unceremoniously removed from the Twitter account of the "Gray Lady." On Sunday morning, the account's badge was no longer visible to its nearly 55 million viewers.

Organizations that are not currently verified will have to pony up $1,000 monthly for the golden check mark, plus $50 per month for each additional affiliate. Individual subscriptions to Twitter Blue start at $7 monthly for the badge.

The New York Times is not alone in its decision to forgo fees now associated with Twitter's verification badges. The Washington Post and CNN announced they would not pay for staffers' blue check status, Politico reported Saturday.

The White House has also said it will not pay for staff's official Twitter profiles' continued verification, according to Axios.

"It is our understanding that Twitter Blue does not provide person-level verification as a service. Thus, a blue check mark will now simply serve as a verification that the account is a paid user," White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty told staffers in an email sent Friday afternoon, the outlet reported.

In his response targeting the NYT, Musk also offered some advice to other outlets.

In addition, he seemed to suggest not all the NYT's followers were legitimate. It is unclear whether Musk was suggesting some of the outlets' followers were bots, were purchased, or not "real" in some other fashion.

"They would have far more real followers if they only posted their top articles," Musk said.

"The same applies to all publications," he added.

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