Elon Musk to launch new blue, gold and grey Twitter ticks

New colour-coded categories next week for individuals, government and firms with accounts ‘manually authenticated’

Elon Musk has said Twitter verification will return next week with colour-coded categories for individuals, government accounts and companies.

Twitter’s new owner said the platform would launch a new verification service on Friday next week, having pulled an earlier attempt at a revamp that gave blue ticks to accounts paying $7.99 (£6.60) a month after it triggered a flood of impostor accounts.

Musk said verified accounts under the new system would carry a blue tick – or checkmark – for individuals, a grey tick for “government” and a gold tick for companies.

Sorry for the delay, we’re tentatively launching Verified on Friday next week.

Gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates.

Painful, but necessary.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 25, 2022

He also said all verified accounts would be “manually authenticated”. He did not clarify whether there would be a fee for any of the new checkmarks, as there was under the previous verification overhaul.

More than 400,000 Twitter accounts currently have blue ticks, which marks them as an authentic source and are usually given to prominent accounts such as those belonging to celebrities, politicians, journalists, government departments and major corporations.

Musk said the new blue tick would be for all individuals, “celebrity or not”, and that individuals could have a secondary “tiny” logo verifying that they belonged to an organisation, if that organisation verified them. He said he would provide a more detailed explanation next week.

His previous attempt to overhaul verification, which he believes is necessary to reduce vexatious automated accounts on the platform and create much-needed revenue via subscriptions, was halted earlier this month when it led to a slew of fake accounts.

A relaunch earlier this month of the platform’s premium service, Twitter Blue, charged $7.99 for a blue tick, but users took up the opportunity to impersonate companies such as Eli Lilly and Tesla for less than $10. The revamp was pulled soon afterwards.

Omnicom, a major advertising group, cited the impersonation problem as one of the reasons its clients should pause advertising on Twitter.

Bloomberg reported in early November, before the botched relaunch of Blue, that government entities would not be charged for verification.

Twitter has nearly 238 million daily users, according to its last set of quarterly results, but that since passed 250 million and user growth rates have hit “all-time highs” since Musk’s $44bn takeover, according to tech news site The Verge.

The verification change was announced as Musk paved the way for the return of banned accounts to the platform next week. He announced on Thursday that a “general amnesty” would be offered to suspended accounts provided they had not broken the law or “engaged in egregious spam”. Banned accounts include those of the British rightwing commentator Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon.

Musk has admitted that Twitter has suffered a “massive” drop in advertising revenue amid concerns about his plans for moderating content on the platform, including the fate of banned accounts.

He has told Twitter employees that “roughly half” of the platform’s revenues need to come from subscriptions in order to “survive the upcoming economic downturn”. According to Twitter’s last set of annual results, advertising accounted for 90% of its $5.1bn in revenues.

Contributor

Dan Milmo Global technology editor

The GuardianTramp

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