What In The World Is Going On With Twitter's 'Official' Checkmarks?

Twitter's messy account verification system has come full circle within just a couple of days. After announcing that the verified blue checkmark status will be offered to every account that pays $8 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription, the company revealed plans for another kind of verification that will come with an "Official" label right below the user name.

Earlier today, the "Official" label started rolling out for government institutions, news outlets, politicians, and other important figures, as the company had initially planned, per Engadget. However, the "Official" badge started appearing on the accounts of individuals like footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and a number of YouTube creators, as well.

In an interesting turn of events, the new badge started to vanish within the next few hours for verified accounts belonging to an individual. At first, it appeared to be an erroneous rollout, as the "Official" badge was not supposed to appear on such Twitter profiles. Well, it appears that Twitter's new free-speech-absolutist CEO killed the "Official" badge system within a day of rolling it out.

To recall, Musk originally lambasted Twitter's original "lords & peasants" system for account verification and sold the idea that $8 per month will give the blue tick mark to everyone. Concerns were immediately raised that any bad actor can purchase a blue tick to impersonate someone important or an organization. 

Twitter will do lots of dumb things: Musk

Replying to a tweet by tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee aka MKBHD about the "Official" label's disappearance, Musk tweeted that "I just killed it." He further added that the original blue tick for verified accounts will be "the great leveler." But it appears that Twitter's latest CEO saved the full disclosure for someone else to tweet about.

Esther Crawford from Twitter's product team later clarified that the "Official" badge is still rolling out, but the company was currently "focusing on government and commercial entities." She further added that the focus is not on individual accounts right now. There's no certainty, however, whether individual verified accounts will get the "Official" badge in the near future. 

Further adding to the confusion, Engadget's "Official" check has also been removed as has the checkmark from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which seems to contradict Crawford's government and commercial entities statement.

In the meantime, Twitter has also officially killed the system that allowed Twitter users to submit a request for getting their account verified. The support document now says that every Twitter account that has paid for Twitter Blue will automatically get the blue tick verified status starting November 9, 2022, on iOS. 

The plans for an "Official" label were announced as a way to let users identify accounts that were originally verified because of their importance. But with a fresh "Official" label, it was essentially going back to square one, because the company had invented just another verification tag instead of solving the real problem. During a Twitter Spaces session, Musk also noted that the Official checkmark wasn't very attractive from an aesthetic standpoint either. So, like much of Twitter these days, it's anyone's guess as to what is actually going on.