Twitter Does a Crazy Flip-Flop on Its New Gray Label

'I just killed it,' says Elon Musk
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 9, 2022 10:30 AM CST
Twitter Adjusts System With New Gray 'Official' Mark
The "official" designation on Coca-Cola's page.   (Twitter screenshot)
UPDATE Nov 9, 2022 10:30 AM CST

Pour one out for Twitter's gray "official" designation, which lasted all of a hot minute. Just hours after the new verification feature was rolled out, Elon Musk killed it, and he said exactly that: "I just killed it," he tweeted in reply to a tweet about the new two-check (blue and gray) system. The mark does indeed appear to be gone from accounts that previously had it. Musk then had two additional things to say. First: "Complaint hotline operator online! Please mention your complaints below." And next: "Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn't."

Nov 9, 2022 10:30 AM CST

Twitter has begun adding gray "official" labels to some high-profile accounts to indicate that they're authentic, the latest twist in new owner Elon Musk's chaotic overhaul of the platform's verification system. Media sites like the AP, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal received an official designation Wednesday, as did companies like Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola. 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 of $7.99.

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 gray label—a color that tends to blend into the background whether you use light or dark mode to scroll Twitter, notes the AP—is an apparent compromise. But it might lead to more confusion, as Twitter users accustomed to the blue check as a mark of authenticity will now have to look for the less obvious "official" designation. Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee who's been working on the verification overhaul, said Tuesday on Twitter that the "official" label will 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. As for the other staffers who remain, one unnamed Twitter engineer who survived the cuts tells Wired there's been zero communication about the path forward. "The way to characterize this past week is just radio silence," the engineer explains. "We've heard nothing at all from Elon or any of his close advisers."

(Read more Twitter stories.)

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