Updated 8 p.m. Eastern: The below story is updated with the following comment from Instagram:
“Nicolás Maduro was not verified on Instagram, and we did not remove verification from his account,” an Instagram spokeswoman said in an email statement to media.
The U.S. government has recognized his rival Juan Guaidó as new interim president. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence lined up against him. A U.S. senator called him a terrorist. And now this.
Instagram has apparently stripped Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro of his “verified” status on Instagram.
Surely this will be the final straw that breaks Maduro politically in Venezuela. We’ll see.
Maduro has been unverified on IG. Blue check mark … gone https://t.co/924Y1Az1h0
— Gabriel Elizondo (@elizondogabriel) January 23, 2019
It’s unclear why the blue check mark vanished, but the politician’s loss of popularity might have something to do with it. (He said earlier today that Venezuela is breaking diplomatic relations with the United States.) The Facebook-owned social media site says it verifies accounts it believes are “in the public interest.” Blue checks are awarded to accounts that “represent a well-known, highly searched-for person, brand, or entity.” Despite his political status, Maduro is undeniably popular–and certainly newsworthy.
Twitter, meanwhile, has maintained Maduro’s verified status.