Twitter overhauled its verified check marks this weekend — but seemingly only for The New York Times account

  • The first day of Twitter’s previously announced axing of “legacy” verified checks nearly passed without incident.
  • However, Twitter CEO Elon Musk was presented with a meme about the New York Times not intending to pay to keep its check.
  • “Oh ok, we’ll take it off then,” Musk said, and the Times’ gold check disappeared overnight.

Twitter previously said it would start removing “legacy” verified check marks starting Saturday, but it seems only one account has been affected so far: the official New York Times account.

It appears the Times lost its gold verification check sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday morning, a removal that may have occurred in response to a meme that was tweeted at Elon Musk.

Musk allegedly said in a since-deleted tweet that there would be a “grace” period of a few weeks before the non-paying checks were removed, “unless they tell they won’t pay now,” which would lead to the removal of the check, according to journalist Matt Binder.

The account @DogeDesigner, which frequently tweets at Musk, responded with a meme based on the news that the New York Times has said it doesn’t intend to pay the $1,000 per month to keep its gold check, nor pay for members of its staff to retain their blue checks. Several other media outlets, including Insider, have also said they do not intend to pay to maintain their verification. 

“Oh ok, we’ll take it off then,” Musk said in another response Saturday night, and the Times’ gold check disappeared sometime overnight.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Times’ main account is the only one associated with the outlet that has had its check revoked, while others, like the Arts section and Opinion section, still have their blue or gold checks.

“The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting,” Musk tweeted later Saturday night.

Insider contacted Twitter for comment. The company responded with an automated message that didn’t address the inquiry.

As of Sunday afternoon, it appears the Times is the only account broadly affected by the changes that Twitter previously announced would go into effect starting Saturday, which could be due to the fact that revoking the checks is far from an easy task.

Citing two former employees, the Washington Post reported Saturday that managing the verified checkmarks is is a labor-intensive process with no real way to remove checks en masse without potentially disrupting other parts of the platform. 

Beyond major news outlets, several other big name users across sports and entertainment, including LeBron James and Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame, have tweeted about their intentions to not pay for the check and possibly leave the platform once they lose it. Both James and Alexander still have blue check marks as of Sunday afternoon.