HomeMedia & TrendsTop Kenyan journalists react to Elon Musk's Twitter verification purge

Top Kenyan journalists react to Elon Musk’s Twitter verification purge

  • IN BRIEF: The Twitter verification badge has been a vital tool in fighting fake news and ensuring authenticity on the platform. However, the move to require payment for the Blue Badge could have negative consequences, especially for journalists who may not be able to afford it. It remains to be seen how this new policy will affect the social media landscape, and whether Twitter will reconsider its decision in light of the backlash from verified users.

On April 21, 2023, prominent Kenyan journalists expressed their views on losing their Twitter verification badges. Twitter CEO Elon Musk had announced a move to purge blue verification check marks from users who had not signed up for its subscription service. Among the top journalists who were de-verified were CNN’s Larry Madowo, former KTN News Anchor Lindah Ogutto, Citizen TV’s Jamila Mohammed, Wahiga Mwaura, Eric Njiru, and Sam Gituku.

Waihiga Mwaura acknowledged that Twitter no longer authenticated his account but did not reveal whether he would pay for it. He warned that unscrupulous individuals would create fake accounts to impersonate him. Citizen TV News Anchor Mwaura predicted stormy seas ahead for the new dawn that was beckoning in the wake of the legacy verified account era’s demise.

Larry Madowo stated that he would not pay the Blue Badge fee of Ksh1,060 ($8) and his ‘legacy verified’ checkmark was gone. Veteran Sports Journalist Eric Njiru also lost his Blue Twitter Badge but defiantly stood against the new policy, noting that verification lost its meaning if anyone could get it.

Citizen TV News Anchor and Managing Editor Jamila Mohammed equally shared her displeasure with removing her Blue Badge. Lindah Oguttu responded to Elon Musk’s statement confirming that Twitter had begun the purge to lift verification for accounts that had not paid. She joked about starting a “save-a-celebrity fund” to pay their $8, trolling the Twitter CEO and warning him of the fake accounts impersonating celebrities.

The Twitter verification badge has been a symbol of authenticity on the social media platform since 2009, but the move to require payment for it could impact journalists and other users who may not be able to afford it. Many Kenyan journalists, especially those who work for smaller media outlets or are freelancers, may not be able to pay for the subscription service, and this could expose them to the risk of impersonation.

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