Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday said he “killed” the rollout of second verification labels less than 24 hours after they started appearing on select users’ accounts, with a company director clarifying that the marks are still set to be introduced when the company's updated subscription service launches.
Twitter said Tuesday evening it would start rolling out gray labels marking some accounts as “official” as the company launches its plans to start charging users for its previous blue check mark verification system. By Wednesday afternoon some of the gray “official” labels that were placed on select users’ accounts were removed.
In response to YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who noted that his “official” label was gone nearly as quickly as it appeared, Musk said, “I just killed it.”
“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months,” Musk tweeted shortly after. “We will keep what works & change what doesn’t.”
Twitter’s Esther Crawford tweeted after that the official label “is still going out as part of” the Twitter Blue subscription launch.
“What you saw him mention was the fact that we're not focusing on giving individuals the ‘Official’ label right now,” she tweeted, referring to Musk’s tweet.
In a Twitter thread Tuesday, Crawford said that the gray labels had been intended to help users distinguish between users with a blue check mark because they are paid subscribers and accounts that are verified as official.
On Wednesday, Twitter also appeared to add descriptions to blue check marks to distinguish if a user has one because they are a Twitter Blue subscriber or because they are verified as a “notable” account in a designated category. The account information on the symbol, though, is only visible if users click on the check mark next to an account's username.
Since closing his $44 billion acquisition at the end of last month and taking the reins at Twitter, Musk has proposed plans to let users gain a blue check mark, once reserved for verified accounts, as part of a monthly $7.99 subscription to Twitter Blue.
Experts raised concerns about the plan undermining credibility on Twitter by making it harder to confirm if verified accounts are legitimate or not. Musk said over the weekend that Twitter would ban users who use the blue check to impersonate others.
Crawford, in Tuesday’s thread, confirmed that Twitter Blue does not include ID verification, but rather is an opt-in, paid subscription that offers the blue check mark and access to “select features.”
Musk’s plans to try and boost the paid features come as he tries to make his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter profitable. Others have raised doubts that users will opt in to pay for features on Twitter, especially when they have traditionally been offered to users for free.
— Updated at 2:47 p.m.