Twitter confirms ‘official’ label for brands, governments, and media, but don’t call it verification

Twitter

SpaceX founder Elon Musk had his Twitter account hacked last week.

The internet has been watching the fate of Twitter hang in the balance over the past week. One of the biggest questions has been around Twitter verification and how Elon Musk’s new US$8 fee will impact public figures and brands. We now have a little more clarification around that.

Elon Musk’s strategy for Twitter Blue has been up in the air since the billionaire bought the platform for US$44 billion. Originally he pitched a US$20 fee, but quickly backflipped on this price tag, settling on US$8.

Twitter Blue is a monthly subscription that offers a number of exclusive features such as the ‘undo’ function. But the most controversial new addition to Blue is verification, or the ‘blue tick’ as it is colloquially referred to on the platform. In general, verification has been reserved for public figures, journalists and brands. Now anyone will be able to pay for one.

This has resulted in an outcry from the Twitter community as well as fears that this could open the floodgates for impersonation, the spread of misinformation and scammers.

Musk has responded to these criticisms with a mixture of assurances of information accuracy and shitposting.

“Widespread verification will democratize journalism & empower the voice of the people,” Musk tweeted on November 7.

“Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission.”

We now know a little bit more about how Twitter plans to handle the potential spread of misinformation and impersonation on the platform.

On Wednesday morning Esther Crawford, a product manager at Twitter, confirmed that an “official” label will be attached to select accounts when Twitter Blue launches to distinguish them from subscribers.

Crawford tweeted that “government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures” will receive the ‘official’ label.

“Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘official’ label and the label is not available for purchase,” Crawford said.

“The new Twitter Blue does not include ID verification — it’s an opt-in, paid subscription that offers a blue checkmark and access to select features. We’ll continue to experiment with ways to differentiate between account types.”

This certainly sounds like the old verification process, but with a new name. It’s also interesting timing, given that Musk banned verified accounts, including comedian Kathy Griffin, from Twitter over the weekend due to changing their names to ‘Elon Musk’. This was after strongly advocating for free speech on the platform.

Regardless, it’s still unclear which accounts will receive an ‘official’ tag at launch or what process will be in place for brands and public figures to receive one.

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