Twitter on Wednesday, November 9 started introducing a new feature of a grey verification label that runs alongside the famous blue checkmark.
The new feature has already been allocated to high-profile accounts to indicate authenticity as the road to overhauling the verification system under billionaire Elon Musk gathers momentum.
As of now, Twitter relies on the blue checkmark authentication system to show users that the account belongs to authentic individuals and entities, a mark Musk intends to do away with by introducing a Ksh975 per month subscription service.
Explaining the new changes, Esther Crawford, a director of product management at the company, demonstrated this with a screenshot of Twitter’s own account having the grey checkmark and an ‘official’ label beneath the account handle.
“A lot of folks have asked about how you’ll be able to distinguish between Twitter Blue subscribers with blue checkmarks and accounts that are verified as official, which is why we’re introducing the “Official” label to select accounts when we launch,” she explained.
The new system has the blue and grey checkmarks running alongside each other, and even if it will be offered for free, not all verified accounts will get the official label used to authenticate accounts of public interest.
“Not all previously verified accounts will get the “Official” label and the label is not available for purchase. Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures,” she added.
Crawford noted that the new Twitter Blue does not include ID verification – it’s an opt-in, paid subscription that offers a blue checkmark and access to select features.
Further experiments on differentiating between account types are ongoing.
Internationally verified accounts ranging from sports clubs to musicians of public interest now have the grey tick account alongside their blue tick accounts, meaning Kenyans of public interest are yet to sample the new feature.
The popular social media platform had already removed the option for users to sign up for verification. It had previously simplified the process, allowing personalities ranging from politicians to journalists, celebrities, heads of states et al to apply to get the coveted blue checkmark for free.
Stating on Tuesday, November 1, Musk, the new Twitter boss, revealed that the plan would upend the platform’s “current lords and peasants system” and create a new revenue stream for the company.
Under the new regulations, Kenyans with the blue checkmark on Twitter will have to pay Ksh971.60 (US$8) per month (Ksh11,659.2 per year), with Musk warning that the prices might be adjusted by country.
“Twitter’s current lords and peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is BS. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month,” he stated.
Musk also revealed that verified users enrolled in the monthly subscription service will get priority in replies, mentions and searches, which is essential to defeating spam/scams. They will also have the ability to post long videos and audio and will get half as many adverts.
He also reportedly started ofr massive layoffs, with large advertisers pulling out their products from deals with the platform after Musk hinted at reducing content moderation policies.
On the bright side, the trendsetter app is planning to implement a new feature for attaching long form text to tweets and to enable content creators to earn money from it through its monetization plan.