Twitter to add 'official' label to verified high-profile accounts

The platform's current verification system has been in place since 2009, and was created to ensure that certain big, public-facing accounts were authentic

Photo: AP
Photo: AP


Published: Wed 9 Nov 2022, 8:27 AM

Last updated: Wed 9 Nov 2022, 2:22 PM

On Tuesday, Twitter said it would be adding a grey “official” label to some high-profile accounts to indicate their authenticity. This is the latest twist in new owner Elon Musk’s chaotic overhaul of the platform’s verification system.

The site's current system of using what are known as “blue checks” confirming an account's authenticity will soon go away for those who don't pay a monthly fee. The check marks will be available at a yet-to-be-announced date for anyone willing to pay $7.99 per month for it, and will also include some bonus features, such as fewer ads, as well as the ability to have certain tweets given greater visibility than those coming from non-subscribers.

The platform's current verification system has been in place since 2009, and was created to ensure that high-profile and public-facing accounts are who they say they are.

Experts have expressed concern that making the check mark available to anyone for a fee could lead to impersonations and the spreading of misinformation and scams. The grey label — a colour that tends to blend into the background whether you use light or dark mode to scroll Twitter — is an apparent compromise.

However, this might lead to more confusion, as Twitter users accustomed to the blue check as a mark of authenticity will now also have to look for the less obvious “official” designation.

On Tuesday, Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee who has been working on the verification overhaul, said on Twitter that the “official” label would be added to “select accounts" when the new system launches.

“Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘official’ label and the label is not available for purchase," said Crawford, who recently was the subject of a viral photo showing her sleeping on the floor of a Twitter office while working to meet Musk’s deadlines.

Crawford said those receiving the label include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures.

There are about 423,000 verified accounts under the outgoing system. Many of those belong to celebrities, businesses and politicians, as well as media outlets.

However, a large chunk of verified accounts belong to individual journalists, some with tiny followings at local newspapers and news sites around the world. The idea was to verify reporters so their identities couldn't be used to push false information on Twitter.

Musk had previously floated designating official accounts in a way other than the blue check.


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