FP StaffNov 14, 2022 16:41:39 IST
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 really 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 that Twitter is, had predicted the disastrous effects that such a move would have. Literally everyone who is familiar with the platform had predicted 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 a lot of other people.
One way, Elon Musk proposed, to deal with such accounts would be a secondary tag or a label that would have a grey tick and the label “Official” next to authentic accounts, which were previously verified. Altough 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, saw its stocks drop by 4 per cent, wiping off billions of worth 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, and neither does the account of NATO.
Clearly, the roll-out of the grey tick and Official label feature hasn’t been nearly as smooth as Musk would have 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.
We’re not currently putting an “Official” label on accounts but we are aggressively going after impersonation and deception.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2022
Within hours, Twitter Supported tweeted out, saying –
To combat impersonation, we’ve added an “Official” label to some accounts.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 11, 2022
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.”
Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months.
We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2022
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 one needs 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.”