Twitter owner Elon Musk on Friday announced a new color-coded scheme for verifying accounts—a manual process that could strain the company’s shrunken workforce—that comes hot on the heels of an aborted attempt at overhauling verification that flooded the platform with a chaotic stream of imposter accounts.
Twitter’s new color-coded verification system would tentatively launch on Friday, December 2, Musk tweeted.
Musk said Twitter will now manually authenticate accounts in order to avoid the deluge of imposters that emerged when the firm opened up its verification badges to paying users of the Twitter Blue subscription service.
The ubiquitous blue check mark currently used for all verified accounts will be replaced with a system of blue, gold and gray ticks, Musk said.
Gold ticks will be given to verified company accounts and gray ticks will be handed to “government” accounts.
Blue checks will now be given to “all” verified individuals, celebrity or not, Musk said, explaining that the boundary of what constitutes notable is “otherwise too subjective.”
A “secondary tiny logo” could be added to an individual’s account to show they belong to an organization, Musk added, promising a “longer explanation” on the system next week.
What We Don’t Know
It is not clear whether or not users will have to pay in order to get verified. Musk’s aborted attempt to revamp the verification system earlier this month opened up “verified” status to anyone willing to pay for Twitter’s premium service, Twitter Blue. The service handed over a blue checkmark to anyone paying the $7.99 a month fee and did not confirm the identity of account holders, unleashing a torrent of “verified” accounts impersonating others. Drugmaker Eli Lilly, former President Donald Trump, Pope Francis, NBA star LeBron James, games giant Nintendo and Musk’s own Tesla were among the slew of high profile figures and companies (often convincingly) parodied.
Musk described the implementation of manual verification as a “painful, but necessary” step to tackle impersonation. Given the mass firing and exodus of staffers since Musk took the reins in October, this process is likely to add considerable strain to Twitter’s already pressured workforce.
What To Watch For
Replying to questions on Twitter asking whether the check marks will actually help users differentiate between similar accounts, Musk acknowledged the possibility the scheme will not go to plan and vowed to act accordingly. Deliberate impersonation or deception will result in account suspension, he said, adding that users could use organizational affiliation, biography and follower counts to help distinguish between accounts with the same name. Musk said Twitter could show follower counts under people’s names on tweets and allow filtering based on follower amount “if it actually becomes a problem.”
$191.6 billion. That’s the estimated net worth of Elon Musk, according to Forbes’ real-time tracker. The figure makes Musk the richest person on Earth. He bought Twitter for $44 billion in October and is best known for leading and cofounding electric carmaker Tesla, rocket firm SpaceX and tunneling enterprise Boring Company.