Twitter owner Elon Musk seems to be taking the Silicon Valley adage to “move fast and break things” to a new level of speed and destruction. The drama was most apparent in the platform’s paid verification system which rolled out last week and has already proved a huge headache for Twitter and a crap show for regular users.
After first announcing plans for an $8 paid verification system, Twitter went through a whirlwind of multiple interpretations of the system before arriving at its current incarnation. Just this week Twitter tried to add a gray “Official” check mark for some government officials, media and major brands before rapidly pulling functionality. In the latest version of verification, everyone gets a blue checkmark, but if you click the icon in each Twitter profile, it will either show if they’ve been verified because they’re a public identity, or if they’re they spat out money for the privilege.
And with documents showing recent layoffs have taken chunks of Twitter’s engineering capacity, these constant changes and updates to legacy systems must be exhausting for those still remaining with the company.
As a reminder, verified accounts were originally introduced to prevent users from impersonating public figures. The platform had already been sued for facilitating these counterfeits, so Musk has to distinguish between monetizing the blue tick while claiming the site is safe for public figures, and most importantly, advertisers. If only they could get Musk himself to take the situation a little more seriously.
Those who purchase the blue tick show they have “an active Twitter Blue subscription”, but their tweets also now appear in Twitter’s new verified section on Twitter notifications. Jhe paid blue tick is actually unavailable for Android or Twitter.com users, but anyone who pays can add folders to bookmarks, add themes and cancel tweets, among other features.
This system has obvious drawbacks, not least because it is not clear at first glance which accounts were verified before Musk’s arrival and which were bought. Thursday, Twitter silently changed its Twitter Blue policy to stop all accounts created after November 9 to subscribe to Twitter Blue. Those who buy their check also can’t change their display name, and the company says it will implement a new process to change their name “soon”.
Two Twitter users, Will Seagar and Walter Lim, even created a Chrome extension called “Eight Dollars” which will modify Twitter verification to immediately show who has been officially verified and who has paid for their check mark.
Meanwhile, there are also persistent accounts on Twitter that have been regularly cited for hate and attack campaigns that bought their way to the blue tick. At the time of reporting, many high-profile ultra-right Twitter accounts remain open and verified, although some have been hidden with warnings that “this profile may include potentially sensitive content.” These accounts are particularly dangerous, as verification can draw even more attention to their posts.
#Verified #Impersonators #Mess #Twitters #Blue #Checkmarks