A new verification mark intended to better identify important Twitter accounts has become the latest source of chaos in the company under new owner Elon Musk.
Just hours after the feature film’s debut, Musk abruptly said on Wednesday that he had “killed” a new gray verification badge designed to tag government accounts, major brands and the media, adding to the turmoil of the one of the most influential social media companies in the world.
The new badge, consisting of a gray check mark and the word “Official” placed under account credentials belonging to Twitter, the United Nations and media including CNN, was first introduced on Tuesday evening.
The feature was created to differentiate “selected” identity-verified accounts from the blue checkmarks that Twitter said it would soon offer to paying users for $8 per month, tweeted Esther Crawford, director of product management at the company.
The new badge began rolling out early Wednesday morning. But by late morning, users began to notice that the badge was gone.
“I just killed him,” Musk tweeted in response to a tweet about the disappearances. Musk added, “Please note that Twitter will be doing a lot of stupid things in the coming months. We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t.
Minutes later, however, Crawford was forced to clarify what Musk meant.
“The official label is still being released as part of @TwitterBlue’s launch – we’re only focusing on government and commercial entities to begin with,” Crawford tweeted. “What you’ve seen him mention is the fact that we’re not focused on giving individuals the ‘Official’ label right now.”
Despite this, accounts such as NASA, CNN and the UN had all been stripped of their “official” labels by Wednesday afternoon, fueling confusion.
The real-time experience highlights Musk’s improvisational management style, which he applied generously throughout the company during his first weeks of ownership.
In recent days, Twitter and Musk have come under heavy criticism over the company’s plan to change the meaning of the blue checkmark to not identify confirmed people, especially public figures, to a new meaning meaning a user has paid for Twitter Bluethe company’s subscription service.
Election security experts have warned of the likelihood of bad actors paying for a blue tick and then changing their display names to impersonate government officials or other authoritative sources of information.
After appearing to prepare the feature for rollout over the weekend, Twitter then decided to delay the rollout until after midterm, CNN previously reported. Also over the weekend, Musk promised that accounts caught impersonating undisclosed people would be permanently banned without warning, reversing earlier promises that so-called “permabans” would be extremely rare.
Twitter said Tuesday evening that to resolve ambiguity over accounts on its platform whose identity has been verified — as opposed to those who simply pay $8 a month for a blue check mark on their profiles — the company would introduce the gray checkmark under an “official” label.
One earlier screenshot posted by Crawford showed how the new label would appear. The screenshot showed Twitter’s own account profile, which included the standard blue checkmark next to its display name as well as a gray checkmark and the word “Official” below its account ID.
“Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘Official’ label and the label is not available for purchase”, Crawford tweeted tuesday. “Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and select public figures.”
Crawford also confirmed that the upcoming option to pay for a blue tick will not include an identity verification requirement.
“We will continue to experiment with ways to differentiate between account types,” Crawford said. said.