Saying that Twitter as a platform is going through a lot would be a massive understatement. In a bit to fix a system that wasn’t broken, to begin with, Elon Musk has shot himself and the people working with Twitter in the foot, it seems.
When Elon Musk announced that users could buy blue ticks for themselves, everyone familiar with the platform Twitter had predicted the disastrous effects that such a move would have. Everyone friendly with the platform had expected that a whole bunch of accounts would start impersonating legit accounts and indulge in random shitposting, which, with the blue tick, would seem legitimate to many other people.
Elon Musk proposed that one way to deal with such accounts would be a secondary tag or a label with a grey tick and the title “Official” next to authentic reports, which were previously verified. Although Twitter did launch the feature, it was short-lived.
Elon Musk decided that the grey “Official” checkmark was no good. “I just killed it,” he tweeted. “Blue check will be the great leveler,” he added. The impersonations, trolling, and crude jokes commenced again.
When Twitter finally opened up their new and “improved” Twitter Blue subscription package for everyone, several trolls created fake, “verified” accounts of several brands, politicians, and athletes and tweeted out all sorts of nonsense.
The situation had become so chaotic that a tweet from a fake account caused a rather reputed pharmaceutical company in the US to see its stocks drop by 4 percent, wiping off billions of dollars.
And so Twitter brought back the grey “Official” checkmark on some accounts, including the official “Twitter “ account. Other accounts that have it include the Coca-Cola company. The account of the President of the United States has a special checkmark saying “United States government official.” The official account of the United Nations does not have the grey checkmark at the time of writing, nor does the history of NATO.
The rollout of the grey tick and Official label feature hasn’t been nearly as smooth as Musk hoped.
As an example of just how messy this rollout has been, we present to you the official Twitter Support account, whose two latest tweets at writing time, one right above the other, contradict one another: One says the company is not putting an “Official” label on accounts, and the other says the opposite.
Within hours, Twitter Supported tweeted out, saying –
Musk hasn’t directly addressed the back and forth besides tweeting that “Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months.” He did say, however, that the grey “Official” checkmark was an “aesthetic nightmare” and an “another way of creating a two-class system.”
Musk also tweeted that there are “far too many corrupt Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks” and that the company has no choice but to “remove legacy Blue in coming months.”
It’s still unclear what to do to get a grey “Official” checkmark. Twitter product lead Esther Crawford said the grey checkmarks will not be available for purchase and that “accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures.”