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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

    Main Point: Verification doesn’t equal credibility

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    MP graphic

    As of April 1, Twitter is requiring a paid subscription to Twitter Blue to have a verification checkmark on a profile. The University Star will not be paying to verify our organization on Twitter.
    The gold checkmark for verified organizations is $1,000 a month and an extra $50 a month for affiliated accounts such as professional profiles for each reporter at a news organization. The Star will not be paying for this verification either.
    The Star’s editorial board believes that paying for verification lessens the once-earned status of a blue checkmark which we no longer view as a symbol of credibility.
    Per the new Twitter guidelines, The Star Twitter will no longer appear to our followers on the “For You” page. We will continue to use Twitter to share our news-gathering and reporting as usual, as it is still an important tool to reach our audience.
    According to Pew Research Center, 23% of Americans use Twitter, and roughly 69% say they get their news from the site. Several news organizations, such as The New York Times, have also stated that they won’t be subscribing to Twitter Blue, meaning that those who find their news on Twitter will begin to see fewer of those tweets due to the “For You” restrictions.
    Often, student media outlets can be viewed as having less broad coverage than other publications not connected to a college campus. However, The Star’s coverage reaches beyond the scope of the Texas State campus, a community of over 50,000 people.
    As a student news source, The Star’s stories are about Texas State and its students. Still, we also cover local elections, city council and other stories affecting the San Marcos community. The Star is the only news outlet in the area that caters to both communities.
    We believe that the over 17,000 followers we’ve accumulated on Twitter through our community and campus-centered journalism reflect our trustworthiness as a news source to those communities we serve.
    We also believe our Twitter following speaks more toward our reliability as a news organization than a monthly fee of $8. The blue checkmark now symbolizes, instead of years of credible journalism, a willingness to spend $8.
    According to the Twitter Help Center, Twitter Blue is a service meant to “elevate quality conversations” on the platform. Some of the features of a subscription include editing tweets after they’re posted, using NFT profile photos and publishing tweets that are longer than 280 characters.
    Though not everyone who decides to pay for Twitter Blue is guaranteed a checkmark, allowing anyone to have the opportunity chips away at the credibility the platform once held. Despite what Twitter advertises, quality conversations are in danger. The app has become a pay-to-play platform.
    Users will likely begin to see the recognizable blue checkmark on every corner of the platform. Every user who pays for the subscription will be placed under review to receive the check, but the only criteria are that the account must be active, older than 30 days and “non-deceptive.”
    The former verification, known as the legacy verification program, had to be met by a higher standard of criteria. Accounts had to be authentic, notable, active and fit into a category or subcategory. As a news organization, The Star fits all these criteria.
    Troll accounts can abuse the Twitter Blue subscription by creating accounts impersonating prominent figures. Some troll accounts, such as one for George W. Bush, have already appeared. The blue checkmark is still associated with reliability, which means these fake accounts can get away with more than usual.
    Twitter stated that any account not clearly labeled as a parody would be permanently suspended without warning. This policy has the potential to bring more problems to the platform. There is a chance that Twitter won’t be able to catch every account that needs to be suspended or credible accounts may be wrongfully suspended.
    High-quality information such as that which comes from credible news sources will be drowned out by content that someone has paid to display on users’ Twitter Home page.
    Our audience ought to be able to see our tweets without The Star’s payment for Twitter Blue. As a student media outlet with a large audience, keeping our communities informed is at the forefront of our mission. Diminishing our line of communication with them on Twitter is the start of censorship.

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