In addition to the paid verification check, Twitter will also provide users with another gray check. This distinguishes between paying users and ‘official’ accounts as they exist under the current verification system.
That describes Twitter product manager Esther Crawford on the social network itself. There she shows a screenshot showing both a familiar blue check mark and a gray check mark. The company wants to distinguish between official user accounts as they already exist and paying users with a Twitter Blue subscription. The latter is a subscription that was announced earlier this month, after the network was acquired by Elon Musk.
So there will soon be two checkmarks for users:
|Blue||Intended as an authentication method, by which a user proves that he or she is legitimate.||For paying users of a Twitter Blue subscription. Blue subscribers pay $8 a month. They are therefore included higher in the algorithm and get more interaction with other Blue users.|
|Gray||Does not exist yet.||Intended as a verification method like the blue check that is right now.|
Twitter is going to hand out the new gray check mark to ‘certain accounts’ when rolling out Twitter Blue. According to Crawford, not every user who is now verified will automatically receive a gray check. That only happens for government accounts, commercial companies, ‘business partners’, major media outlets, publishers and ‘some public figures’. The rules are not yet clear.
According to Crawford, a gray tick cannot be bought. She also says that the Blue plan will not work based on identity verification. It will be an opt-in feature that will allow users to buy the blue tick.
Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, was one of the first to make the changes to the verified account policy. Currently, government accounts and companies, as well as individual users such as journalists, can request a blue verification check. This allows them to prove that they are the real person behind the account. This should prevent identity fraud on the platform. The current system sometimes works arbitrarily; in some cases users are required to upload proof of identification, but in at least as many cases this is not necessary. Verification then takes place on the basis of, for example, an author page in a medium and a verification code via an official company e-mail address.
The new Twitter Blue subscription should make it more accessible to get a blue tick. Anyone willing to pay $8 a month can get it. However, this brought Twitter into a new problem. It makes the blue verification check marks no longer reliable. By introducing a gray check mark, Twitter hopes to regain that reliability. It is questionable whether users on the platform still understand the difference in UI and policy, partly because the verification process of accounts has always been arbitrary.
UPDATE: Twitter has now returned announced to discontinue the feature. This happened after chaos surrounding the process, in which some users were given ‘official’ status, but accounts of, for example, US President Joe Biden were not. The future of the check marks remains uncertain.