Elon Musk has revealed more details of the coming revamp of Twitter’s $8 verification program, which was initially launched three weeks back, but then pulled from live production due to a raft of impersonations, which caused significant confusion in the app.
The $8 verification program, while only available to some users for a short amount of time, immediately caused significant issues for Twitter and its partners. In response, Elon and Co. immediately halted this test in order to revise and re-shape the program in a more brand-safe, user-friendly way.
Now, Musk has revealed more details as to exactly how the updated $8 verification plan will work moving forward. The updated verification plan will launch on Friday next week (12/2).
Gold, Gray and Blue Checkmarks
As per Musk: “Gold check for companies, gray check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not)”
First, to limit the potential of misrepresentation of corporate and government accounts, Musk says that those profiles will now get a different colored checkmark, which will ensure that people can’t just buy a blue tick and then pretend to be Coca-Cola for example. The updated gold checkmark will ideally limit the potential for future users to do the same, because they won’t be able to buy the official gold tick – though there will be a period of adjustment and education on such for users.
“All verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates. Painful, but necessary.”
Unfortunately, this approach will still require manual checking, as Twitter can’t know for sure that it’s a brand or government account without some kind of confirmation. Initially, Twitter has thus far opted to avoid any kind of manual confirmation in this new process, due to the additional labor requirement, but now, Musk says that this will be integrated into the updated process.
So, like, a lot of manual monitoring, with a lot less staff.
Blue Checkmark Update
“All verified individual humans will have same blue check, as boundary of what constitutes ‘notable’ is otherwise too subjective.”
As for the traditional blue checkmarks, there’ll be no differentiation between those who’ve been given the marker, and those who’ve paid for it.
This is true— there are a lot of blue checkmarks on random accounts, and it has been a confusing system. But at the same time, there are also a lot of high-profile individuals who could be at risk of impersonation under this system – which, incidentally, is why the blue ticks were introduced in the first place (in 2009, an MLB star sued Twitter for allowing a scammer to use his likeness to dupe people in the app).
Tiny Logo for Leaders and Spokespeople
“Individuals can have secondary tiny logo showing they belong to an org if verified as such by that org.”
So an additional qualifier for spokespeople, CEOs and journalists, as another measure to avoid impersonation. The updated elements will certainly lessen the scope for scam activity, but still, they do also introduce a level of risk.
We still don't have enough evidence to suggest that enough users will sign up to Elon’s $8 per month checkmark plan to make it worthwhile for the company to run, as either a revenue or verification pathway. Just 0.41% of Snapchat users pay for Snapchat+, a fraction of LinkedIn users pony up for Premium, while Meta concluded long ago that charging users was no where near as lucrative as serving a bigger audience more ads.
These new measures do counter some of the issues that the initial version of Musk’s $8 verification program introduced, but then again, they could also avoid them entirely by revising the current blue check system, as opposed to simply letting people pay for the marker.
But regardless, Musk is determined to push ahead, and find out for himself either way.