As the sun rose on Twitter this morning, many users found new “Official” verification badges, which had just been announced yesterday, attached to their accounts. (Kotaku notably did not; what did we do to upset you, Elon?) But before anyone could even enjoy their first lunch as double-verified elites, the badges disappeared. Twitter’s new approach to verification lasted just a few hours before Elon Musk killed it.
The “Official” verification label was announced just yesterday, November 8 by Twitter Director of Product Management Esther Crawford as a solution to the problem posed by the changes to the Twitter Blue subscription service. Since the new Twitter Blue will give blue checks to anyone who pays $8 a month, Twitter needed a way to identify public figures, government officials, and corporations.
Enter “Official” verification. Today’s new label—a gray version of the traditional blue checkmark accompanied by the word “Official”—was meant to distinguish the official accounts of “verified” users from Twitter Blue subscribers. “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,” wrote Crawford.
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However, this morning it quickly became clear that Twitter’s method for anointing accounts as “Official” was somewhat random, or perhaps even reflective of Musk’s personal vendettas. Screenshots show that Kanye West, the man responsible for a litany of anti-Semitic diatribes, was officially verified, as was magical transphobe J.K. Rowling. But former Democratic nominee for President Hillary Clinton did not get the new verification. Neither did famed horror writer Stephen King, who famously tweeted “fuck that” last week amid rumors that retaining a blue check would cost $20. Yet the late, great Anthony Bourdain, who has been dead for over four years, did get the elusive label.
As pointed out by Forbes’ Paul Tassi, Destiny 2 developer Bungie was not given an official verification, but Destiny 2 the game was. Actor and gamer Felicia Day, streamer Hasan Piker, and Karnage clan member Drift0r all got the hookup, while many game journalists (myself included) did not. Outlets like GameSpot, Polygon, IGN, and GamesRadar had official verified status bestowed upon them, but Kotaku, as I mentioned, was snubbed.
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Shortly after video producer Marques Brownlee shared that his official verification label had disappeared, Musk responded, saying “I just killed it,” and “Blue check will be the great leveler.” Poor Esther Crawford had to step in and clarify, promising that Twitter was actually just focusing on “government and commercial entities to begin with” and that Musk actually meant “we’re not focusing on giving individuals the ‘Official’ label right now.”
As of right now, the “Official” label seems to be completely wiped from Twitter. It’s missing from the profiles of government officials like President Joe Biden, newly elected senator John Fetterman, and even Twitter itself.
Kotaku’s reached out to Twitter for comment.
RIP Official Twitter Verification (The Gray Edition), you were gone too soon.