White House won’t be paying for staffers’ Twitter verification

A fence stands in front of the White House at dusk, Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The White House won’t pay for aides to keep their Twitter verification, telling staffers in a memo on Friday that they have to pay for Twitter Blue out of personal funds.

The move sets the precedent for other government staffers, including those who work on Capitol Hill and in local governments, as well as for private companies to not pay into Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s new policy.

White House director of digital strategy Rob Flaherty sent an email on Friday afternoon, outlining that “staff may purchase Twitter Blue on their personal social media accounts using personal funds.”

Axios first reported on the email. The outlet also reported that the White House plans to send guidance to agencies about the policy, but that it only applies to White House staffers at this time.

The email comes after Musk announced that Twitter will phase out the older verification program and begin removing blue check marks on accounts on April 1. Twitter has warned users that to keep their verification, they have to pay a monthly $8 subscription fee through the Twitter Blue system.

Musk’s announcement raised questions over if tax dollars would pay for individuals to be verified on Twitter, but the White House appeared to end that speculation within the executive branch on Friday.

Flaherty also outlined in the memo that “government verifications (gray checkmarks) will be available only to a limited number of Cabinet-level and Agency accounts, such as @POTUS, @SecYellen or @USDOT.” Those are the official accounts used by the president, Treasury Secretary and Transportation Secretary.

He also noted that the blue checkmark, in the future, will “simply serve as a verification that the account is a paid user,” adding that the White House will monitor the ongoing trials at Twitter for verification for a whole organization.

Media outlets are also grappling with the question over whether to pay for verification for their staff. The New York Times on Thursday reportedly said it will be not be paying for the monthly fee for verification.

Tags Biden administration Elon Musk Twitter Twitter Twitter blue

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