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On Doge Twitter, everything is meaningless


The purge siren was more of a wail.

While verified Twitter users braced for the Elon Musk-run social media company to massively remove verification badges over the weekend, the Twitter product team seemed to be fully focused on something else: Replacing Twitter’s blue bird icon with that of a Shiba Inu, the dog associated with the Doge meme and cryptocurrency Dogecoin on Monday.

Doge Twitter is emblematic of Musk’s chaotic and unfocused reign of Twitter, where features are rolled out haphazardly and with little to no consideration, select organizations such as The New York Times being punished (i.e. losing their checkmarks) on a whim based on Musk’s uneven standards and basic functionality of the site – remember when users couldn’t even tweet? – is not a given. Apart from a “as promisedtweet by Elon, the company never even officially acknowledged why it embraced Doge as an icon, keeping it a random moment in the Musk era.

The carnage that wasn’t is likely because Twitter has no method of mass removal of verification badges The Washington Post reported. In a since-deleted tweet on April 2, Musk said he would give “a few weeks’ delay” to aging verified users to sign up for Twitter Blue “unless they tell them they won’t pay now, in which we’ll remove [their verification badges]”, which turned out to be the case with The New York Timesmain account. (A representative of the Time did not respond to requests for comment on whether the outlet has seen a decline in engagement or reach after losing verified status.)

But as of the beginning of this week, most verified users have kept their badges, and many have expressed no interest in paying for Twitter Blue, the $8/month subscription service that verifies any user with a phone number and offers other benefits, such as less ads and a boost in visibility across the platform. At least a Twitter Blue subscription has become a bit of a scarlet A on the social platform for some, with some older users even begging to have their blue ticks removed and 39,000 users following an account that shares tools on how to weed out and block Twitter Blue subscribers.

If Musk also counted on celebrities and top creators to absorb the $8 monthly fee in exchange for protecting their verified status, he was wrong. “I’m not paying for a blue check. That money can (and will) go to my extra hot lattes,” Dionne Warwick tweeted.

On the organizational side, big publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post And The Los Angeles Times all said they won’t pay the $1,000/month fee to join Twitter’s verified organizations service, which gives business accounts a gold verification badge and adds an affiliate badge (a smaller version of the main account’s profile picture) to the connected accounts. If that was confusing to read, it’s because it is: a visual nightmare of badges next to badges, all of which mean almost nothing now.

It’s a pay-for-play strategy that hasn’t seen much success for the tight company, as about 3.6 percent of aging verified users have signed up for Twitter Blue, according to an estimate by software developer Travis Brown, who has tracked changes in user authentication status. (Twitter has not made public the number of Twitter Blue subscribers.) And those who have offered to pay tend to have smaller followers on the platform, as about 49.1 percent of Twitter Blue subscribers have fewer than 1,000 followers , based on Brown’s analysis.

A separate study from web analytics firm CompareWeb found that of the 2.6 million people who viewed the Twitter Blue sales page on their desktop in March, 116,000 — or about 4.5 percent — signed up for a subscription.

Perhaps as an attempt to mask the low adoption rates, Twitter also rolled out updated language on Monday to note that those with verification badges may have subscribed to Twitter Blue or were legacy accounts; previously, users could identify who was a Twitter Blue subscriber versus an older user.

Musk, for his part, hasn’t addressed the elephant in the room: It seems few older users say they’ll pay for Twitter Blue. Instead, the mercurial CEO has been laughing all day at his own jokes, sharing recycled meme after recycled meme.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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