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Journalists, influencers clash over Twitter checkmark

by Editorial Team
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By Ahmad Muto

Following the announcement by the new Twitter boss, Elon Musk, that the coveted blue checkmark will now be paid for, a number of users have been warming up to pay the $8 (sh24,000) for it.

However, the discomfort with this new arrangement has left a number of those with legacy checkmarks – verified because of notability in government, news, entertainment and other designated categories – worried that they are going to lose their status, as Musk put it “Lords vs. Peasants.”

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, right to downtown Kampala, those with legacy checkmarks have been venting.

On Thursday, November 17, journalist Canary Mugume, who weeks ago accused Musk of extortion over the new Twitter Blue checkmark arrangement, put up a tweet, strictly for those with verified accounts, asking if they have plans of paying the sh24,000 to retain their checkmarks.

“Would you pay $8 to retain your verification badge? Comments from only those that are verified,” he asked.

Reporter and news anchor Sandra Twinoburyo replied that she will have to find out how it feels first, but it is a no for now.

Her colleague, Walter Mwesigye, ticked off the group that spends its entire day on Twitter identifying as ‘influencers’ when he replied that if it can be paid for, then it has lost purpose and will not consider having what everyone can have: “The badge can go, the meaning is lost if every T, D & H can pay for it.”

@igniteivan, identifying as a social media ‘influencer’, hit back with scorn at the Tom, Dick and Harry reference: “Just that some unverified accounts are more notable than some of you guys. You are just lucky to work in a verified media house naye oli mu Tom, Dick and Harry.”

Mwesigye retorted: “And this is why Canary said this conversation is only for the verified. Firstly, nobody has stopped you from working in a ‘verified media house’. Secondly, your assumption that I am verified because of where I work is really absurd for someone like you who should know process.”

He added: “Your outburst clearly shows you’re failure to get a badge which you so badly need because you’re a ‘top’ content creator, unfortunately for you – have no verification. You probably feel attacked to belong to T, D & H. PS: Badges are not given depending on how much kgs we weigh!”

And they went on and on with other ‘influencers’ joining the fray.
@AllanSseky: “We are getting the blue badge at $8 per month. Verified journalist is really hurt that his only tool of recognition in society is becoming free and everyone will have it.”

The Twitter Blue paid checkmark service was made available in the US days ago, but got suspended hours after it got severely abused by individuals that created fake accounts in the names of notable global leaders and businesses. However, according to Musk, it is being fixed and will be rolled out again in the next few days.

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