Twitter has created a new tick so that it can continue to charge for the blue tick
Twitter has faced widespread criticism for its plan to charge for the coveted “blue tick,” which used to simply mean that the account sporting it was run by the person or entity it claimed to be before it acquired the company. After being sued by a former Major League Baseball manager who was being impersonated on the service.
Twitter implemented the feature in 2009. Because it was difficult to get verified, it became a status symbol, mocking “blue ticks” became a popular pastime on the platform, and de-verification was used as a result of violating the terms of service or (even before he bought Twitter) pretending to be Italian Elon Musk. However, verification is also important to determine which information is coming from reliable sources, such as official government accounts or politicians. Elon Musk Twitter’s hastily rolled-out plan to allow anyone with a
spare $20 $8 a month to be “verified” with no actual identity verification involved rendered.
The blue tick is essentially meaningless, as all it will tell you is who was either verified before this week, when the new scheme is set to go into effect or who is currently paying for Twitter Blue.
Instead of abandoning this doomed monetization strategy, Team Twitter is doubling down. Twitter’s director of Product Management, Esther Crawford, tweeted on Tuesday evening that the platform would introduce the Official label, which consists of a grey tick and the word “Official” under the username on a profile. The blue tick is similar to the old verification/new Blue tick in appearance, with a small checkmark inside a scalloped circle, except that the verified circle is filled in blue and the grey circle is just an outline. Accounts will be able to have two ticks if they are both an Official account and a paid Twitter Blue account. Accounts verified under the old actual-verification scheme will not be stripped of their blue ticks, which will look the same as the new Blue ones, under the current plan. So far, so good.
Crawford clarified that not all previously verified accounts will receive the ‘Official’ label, and the label is not for sale. Government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers, and some public figures will all receive it. Crawford (or, at the very least, the account purporting to be her) did not preview whether the label would be displayed in the Twitter timeline alongside display names, as blue/Blue ticks currently are, which raises the question of whether having to tap or click through to a profile every time you want to be sure you’re retweeting an Official account will be a bit too much friction for the average user to RT responsibly every time.
While Crawford’s profile says she works at Twitter, it lacks any kind of tick, so this reporter sought additional confirmation.) Her LinkedIn account appears to be legitimate, she’s been replied to by verified former Twitter employees, and she even went mildly viral last week for sleeping at Twitter headquarters, so it appears that this account is genuinely hers. But if sleeping on the office floor and leading a team that’s shipping, not one, but two brand new features in a week isn’t enough to earn her an old-fashioned tick, we should assume that working at Twitter won’t mean you’ll have any way of verifying that you work at Twitter on your Twitter account in the future. The media house Mashable has reached out to whoever is still employed at Twitter to confirm the information provided about the feature. Twitter Blue, the updated Elon-era version with select features and a blue tick that means nothing except that you paid for a blue tick, is set to launch on November 9th. The launch was postponed until the day after the 2022 midterm elections, at least in part due to concerns about disinformation spread by legitimate-looking paid accounts on Election Day.