Musk Details Plans For Color-Coded Verification Badges On Twitter

Elon Musk finally has a plan to save the doomed account verification system at Twitter, one that he demolished by selling the blue tick mark for anyone willing to pay $8 per month. The latest idea is to color-code the tick mark badge based on the account owner type. For example, it would appear in golden color for a verified account belonging to a company, instead of the usual blue color for every verified account.

Shortly after Musk took over as Twitter's new CEO, he disparaged the old verification system for its "lords and peasants" approach. The solution? Make it freely available to every single user who pays an $8/month fee for a Twitter Blue subscription. The problem? Musk ended the mandatory identity verification protocol for folks lining up for a blue verification badge. Just as many had expected, the flawed system opened the floodgates of bad actors who purchased a verified badge for parody accounts impersonating legitimate accounts, and it raised hell.

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly lost about $15 billion in its market value after an impersonator account with a verified badge tweeted "free insulin" and set the industry on fire (per Gizmodo). Musk quickly canceled the Twitter Blue-associated account verification plans in the wake of the disaster. Then there was the short-lived "Official" badge for accounts verified in the pre-Musk era so that people could distinguish between accounts that legitimately deserved a verified badge based on their importance and those that simply paid $8 for it.

Noble plan, but lacks teeth

Musk appears to have learned the lesson from the verification fiasco, and now has a fresh plan. All verified accounts will now be categorized and identified based on the badge color. According to Musk, accounts belonging to "government" (most likely government offices and officials) will have a gray checkmark. Accounts run by companies will stand out with a gold tick mark. For accounts belonging to an individual, they will retain the blue color.

Now, Musk clarifies that the blue badge will be universally applied to individuals, whether they are a "celebrity or not." What this means is we won't be able to distinguish if a verified account belonging to a user got the blue tick mark based on its importance, or if it was purchased with a Twitter Blue subscription. This, again, seems like a stop-gap solution. Musk wants to visually protect government and brand accounts with a colorful badge that is easily identifiable.

However, it again leaves personal accounts at risk of impersonation without any visual cue for users to easily identify the real one from a fake verified account. Musk says deliberate impersonation will result in a permanent ban, but what's the point if the damage has already been done? In the not-too-distant past, even Musk's account has been hacked to peddle crypto scams. Then there's the accessibility problem with color-coded verified badges, as folks living with color blindness and related ocular issues will find the solution useless.