The claim: Elon Musk said journalists who use they/them pronouns will pay extra for verification
After billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, he began implementing several controversial changes. One proposed change, though its rollout is now on hold indefinitely, would require Twitter users to pay $8 every month to receive a blue checkmark.
This mark was once reserved for accounts of public interest that Twitter had verified met certain criteria. According to Musk, the new system will "democratize journalism" and "empower the voice of the people."
Some social media users are claiming Musk also said journalists who use they/them pronouns will have to pay extra for verification.
"BREAKING: @elonmusk says journalists with 'they/them' pronouns in bio will pay $16 monthly fee instead of the standard $8 for verification because 'they' identify as multiple people," reads the screenshot of a tweet in a Nov. 30 Instagram post (direct link, archived link).
The post received more than 9,000 likes in two days. Other versions of the claim on Instagram garnered thousands more likes. The original tweet was posted on Nov. 6 by former BlazeTV host Elijah Schaffer.
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But there is no evidence Musk planned to charge any they/them pronoun users – including journalists – more for verification or that he made any comments about it.
USA TODAY reached out to Twitter as well as Schaffer and users who shared the claim for comment.
No evidence Musk made such a comment
There is no evidence Twitter plans to make journalists who use they/them pronouns pay extra for verification. There is no record of Musk announcing this policy on his Twitter account nor are there any credible news reports of this purported announcement.
Schaffer, whose Tweet many users are refering to, did not attribute the information to a source.
A day after Schaffer's tweet, a Musk parody account tweeted that "Users with 'They/Them' pronouns in bio will pay $16, $24 or $32 for verification instead of $8 depending on how many people they identify as."
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Musk said journalists who use they/them pronouns will pay extra for verification. There is no evidence that Twitter plans to charge any they/them pronoun users more for verification. In addition, Musk's Twitter account does not contain such an announcement nor are there are any credible news reports that he made comments about it.
Our fact-check sources:
Elon Musk, Nov. 6, Tweet
Elon Musk, Dec. 16, 2020, Tweet
Elon Musk, accessed Dec. 2, Search for Elon Musk’s tweets containing “pronouns”
Google search for web pages containing “Elon Musk they/them journalists $16,” accessed Dec. 2
Newsweek, Sept. 20, Elijah Schaffer Fired by The Blaze for 'Violating Company Policies'
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact Check: False claim about they/them pronouns on Twitter circulates