The “official” Twitter tag for some users appears and then disappears

Now you’re seeing a new “official” label on some high-profile Twitter accounts, not anymore.

Twitter on Wednesday began adding gray “official” labels to some high-profile accounts to indicate they’re authentic, the latest twist in new owner Elon Musk’s messy overhaul of the platform and its verification system. A few hours later, the labels began to disappear.

“Please note that Twitter will be doing a lot of stupid things in the coming months,” Musk tweeted. “We will keep what works & change what isn’t.”

The introduction appeared haphazard, with some politicians, news outlets and well-known figures receiving the official label and others not. Musk appeared to acknowledge the confusion and assumed his role as “Twitter complaint hotline operator” as he urged users to send him complaints.

Media sites like The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal were given an official designation, as were companies like Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola. And then they were gone.

Before they disappeared, the labels caused confusion. For example, users in London could see an “official” label associated with a BBC News account, but the label was not shown to users in the US

YouTube personality and author John Green jokingly noted that he got the label, but his younger brother and “vlogging” partner Hank Green didn’t make it. But then John Green’s label was gone too. Another popular YouTuber, Marques Brownlee, who posts videos about technology, tweeted that he got the tag and then tweeted again that it was gone, drawing the attention of Musk himself.

“I just finished it,” Musk replied, although it wasn’t initially clear if he was referring specifically to Brownlee’s label or the project as a whole.

The site’s current system of using so-called “blue checks,” which confirm an account’s authenticity, will soon be phased out for those who don’t pay a monthly fee. The ticks will be available on a date not yet announced to anyone willing to pay a $7.99 per month subscription, which will also come with some bonus features such as: B. Fewer ads and the ability to give tweets 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 raised concerns that making the tick available to anyone for a fee could lead to counterfeiting and the spread of misinformation and fraud.

The gray label — a color that tends to blend into the background whether you’re using light or dark mode to scroll Twitter — was an obvious compromise. However, it was expected to cause more confusion as Twitter users who were used to the blue tick as a mark of authenticity would now have to search for the less obvious “official” designation.

Esther Crawford, a Twitter contributor who worked on the verification overhaul, said on Twitter Tuesday that the “official” label would be added to “Selected Accounts” when the new system launches.

“Not all previously verified accounts are given the ‘Official’ label and the label is not for sale,” said Crawford, who was recently the subject of a viral photo showing her sleeping on the floor of a Twitter office while working on Musk’s to meet deadlines.

Crawford said recipients of the label would include government accounts, trading companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures. But after the labels began to disappear on Wednesday, she took to Twitter again to say, “On Twitter, there are no sacred cows in product anymore.”

“Elon is willing to try many things – many will fail, some will succeed,” she said. “The goal is to find the right mix of successful changes to ensure the long-term health and growth of the business.”

There are approximately 423,000 verified accounts under the outgoing system. Many of these are owned by celebrities, corporations and politicians, and media outlets.

But a large proportion 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 could not be used to spread false information on Twitter.

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