Elon Musk has today announced an innovative solution to the problem of impersonation: Twitter verified accounts will actually be verified.
Additionally, there will now be three different checkmark colors, for your chroma-based pleasure …
Musk made the announcement this morning.
Sorry for the delay, we’re tentatively launching Verified on Friday next week.
Gold check for companies, grey check for government, blue for individuals (celebrity or not) and all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before check activates. Painful, but necessary.
Twitter’s owner says that the same blue verified checkmark will apply to all individuals. The previous criteria of “notable people” being verified was, he says, too subjective.
Where verified individuals are part of a verified organization, they can have a secondary logo to indicate this – when they have been verified by the verified organization.
The brief announcement leaves a number of questions unanswered, the main one being how the identity of Twitter Blue subscribers will be confirmed.
The previous system was that Twitter would require proof of identity in the form of a photograph of a government-issued photo ID – usually a passport or driving license. From Musk’s reference to “manual” and “painful” verification, it does seem like this may be the plan for Twitter Blue verification too.
We’ve previously noted that verification via the payment card used to purchase the subscription would not be a sufficient safeguard. Apps like Revolut offer disposable cards for online transactions, and these can be created using literally any name you like. Here’s one I added to my account just now (no need to bow when meeting me, a simple nod of the head is sufficient):
Musk also announced the result of his poll on whether to reinstate almost all previously banned and suspended accounts – again with the same misunderstanding of the Latin quote he used in support of his stance.
The people have spoken. Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.
As NPR correspondent David Gura noted when Musk used the same quote to announce the unbanning of Trump, the full quote means the very opposite of what Musk intended.
Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.
“And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.”
All the chaos of Musk’s (old) new policy on verification was caused by the fact that anyone could change their Twitter name and handle to anything they liked, then buy a Twitter Blue subscription to receive the same blue checkmark used for those whose identity had actually been verified.
Applying the same identity verification process to Twitter Blue subscribers – solves this problem. At least, except for any pranksters who have the same name as public figures …
One other potential issue does remain, though: will legacy verified accounts remain verified if they don’t subscribe to Twitter Blue? Almost all the legacy verified people I know (myself included) have no intention of subscribing to keep our checkmarks, so we could end up in a situation where lots of new people are verified, while previously verified people aren’t. That’s not as bad a situation as impersonations, but could still cause confusion when it comes to which sources to trust.
Musk has promised more details to follow, so for now we’ll need to wait and see.
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