Leading media houses and organisations in Kenya appear to have lost their Twitter verification badges as changes introduced by new owner Elon Musk take effect.
Elon Musk had threatened to take away verification from accounts that don’t pay for the company’s Twitter Blue subscription service. Initially, the badge, represented by a blue checkmark next to a user’s name, indicated that the account was authentic and belonged to a brand, public figure or celebrity.
A spot check by K24 Digital shows that several accounts owned by Mediamax Network Limited, Nation Media Group, Radio Africa Group and Royal Media Services had lost their verification after the lapse of the April 20, 2023 deadline.
Others affected are celebrities and journalists including CNN news anchor Larry Madowo, who is among celebrities who had earlier indicated that they had no intention of paying for the service.
“My ‘legacy verified’ checkmark is gone. Still not paying. This was fun,” Madowo tweeted moments after losing his blue badge.
Madowo had early this month highlighted the risk of identity theft and other malicious activities that could arise if anyone could create an account in his name and get it verified at a fee.
“I have no plans to pay for Twitter Blue at this time, and neither does CNN,” Madowo stated. “Twitter says my blue checkmark will soon disappear after 12 years of being verified. Anyone will be able to create an account in my name and get it verified for $8. What could possibly go wrong?” Madowo tweeted.
Since buying the majority of Twitter last year, Musk repeatedly threatened to take away verification badges from non-paying users, claiming the old verification system was “corrupt.”
Through Twitter Blue, participating organizations will need to pay a $ 1,000-a-month subscription fee, and individual users will have to pay $8 a month to regain their verified status.
Users who are part of paying organizations can also be verified by being associated with them. The 10,000 most-followed organizations and hundreds of Twitter’s top advertisers will reportedly be exempt from having to pay to keep their verification.
Twitter Blue also provides subscribers a feed with fewer ads and the ability to edit and write longer tweets. But Twitter Blue’s initial pay-for-verification program, launched last year, allowed impersonators to wreak havoc on the site. In response, some organizations were given yellow checkmarks.
Additional reporting by agencies.