Update 11/9/22: We can't believe we're writing this but the official tick is already dead. Being a journalist in the time of Musk is wild.
Twitter is making changes to the blue tick verification system for the third time since Elon Musk took over as CEO two weeks ago. The latest change gets the system a little closer to what verification meant before Musk took over, while making people question what a Twitter Blue subscription is for.
Shortly after taking over the platform, Musk announced that users would be able to get verified for $20 a month, before being haggled down to $8 by author Stephen King:
One problem this raises, as well as making it more difficult to know if you are getting information from a trusted source, is that it makes it more difficult to know if someone is the person they are claiming to be. If anyone can buy a blue tick (which used to mean that an identification check had taken place), what is to stop someone from purchasing one and then pretending to be someone else?
After a number of blue tick accounts highlighted this problem by impersonating Elon Musk, Musk announced one solution: banning all parody accounts that don't clearly state they are parody accounts.
Now, Twitter have another solution: a second, far uglier tick.
The new label, early stage products executive Esther Crawford announced on Twitter, will be there to distinguish between Twitter Blue subscribers who gained their tick with their subscription, and "accounts that are verified as official".
The new official label will not be for sale.
"Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures," Crawford continued. She added that ID verification would be an opt-in for Twitter Blue, but that you could not get the blue tick badge without it.
"We’ll continue to experiment with ways to differentiate between account types".
The move, while a step towards proving what verification did before the takeover, has some people asking what the point of Twitter Blue is.
"So it's an emoji next to your name?" one Twitter user asked. "What does it signify other than you paid for twitter blue?"