FACT CHECK: Did X Remove The New York Times’ Verification Badge ‘Without Notice’ Recently?
The Washington Post reported that X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, removed The New York Times’ gold verification badge “without notice” recently.
New: X just removed the gold ‘verified’ badge from @nytimes with no explanation. @elonmusk constantly complains about NYT; other news orgs’ badges are untouched. Comes amid a flood of false info related to Israel-Gaza war, some of which Musk has endorsed https://t.co/aSdyX0B4SS
— Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) October 19, 2023
The gold verification badge appears to have been missing for months, according to archived pages of the Times’ main X account. A New York Times spokesperson told Check Your Fact “this was the first time” the badge had been missing for “a period of days.”
False information about the Israeli-Hamas war has flooded social media platforms, according to Politico. Check Your Fact has debunked several claims related to the Hamas-Israeli conflict. Recently, Check Your Fact debunked a claim that BBC News reported Bellingcat researchers said Hamas used weapons supplied by Ukraine.
The Washington Post headline reads, “Elon Musk’s X removes the New York Times’ verification badge.” The Washington Post report claims that X removed the gold verification badge on Oct. 17 “without notice” and cited “a person familiar with the change said.” (RELATED: Hamas Official Falsely Claims Group Did Not Kill Any Civilians)
This claim, however, appears to be misleading. While The New York Times’ gold verification badge has been removed, archived pages of the account show it appears to have been missing for several weeks. For example, an Oct. 16 archived screenshot, the day before X allegedly removed the gold verification badge from the Times’ main account, shows that the badge was already missing.
The badge was still visible on the Times’ account on Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, according to archived screenshots from Archive.ph and the Wayback Machine. Check Your Fact reviewed other archived screenshots from various dates between Aug. 5 and Oct. 17. The badge does not appear in an Aug. 5 archived screenshot. There is also no badge in this Sept. 4 archived screenshot from Archive.ph. A review of Oct. 10 to Oct. 17 archived screenshots do not show the Times X account with the verified gold badge.
The Times’ Twitter page has been archived thousands of times, but it is possible that the badge could have been reinstated and taken away in a short period of time that wasn’t archived, so Check Your Fact cannot definitively say that the badge was not removed on Tuesday. As of publishing time, the Times’ X account has a blue verified badge. This was also archived in the Wayback Machine.
New York Times director of external communications Charlie Stadtlander told Check Your Fact that “while the gold check mark on The Times’s main account disappeared on Tuesday of this week, it has now reappeared this morning as a blue check.”
“I can’t comment on how the archive works, including how it pulls data like check mark badges. While check marks may have briefly disappeared for a matter of hours in the past, this was the first time it had happened for a period of days. I would also note that while the gold check mark on The Times’s main account disappeared on Tuesday of this week, it has now reappeared this morning as a blue check. The X platform provided no explanation or information regarding either move,” Stadtlander said.
Check Your Fact reached out to The Washington Post for comment. A request for comment to X was met with an automated message that read, “Busy now, please check back later.”