'lots of dumb things'
Gray checkmarks are the new blue checkmarks — or at least, they were for a few hours.
Twitter on Wednesday launched a new kind of checkmark for high-profile accounts: A gray "official" label, which Twitter director of product management Esther Crawford said would be applied to accounts of "government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures." It was a response to concerns over owner Elon Musk's plan to give a verified blue checkmark to anyone who pays for Twitter Blue, which experts feared could lead to the spread of misinformation. Crawford said the new labels would help users distinguish between Blue subscribers "and accounts that are verified as official" — which was originally the purpose of the blue checkmark.
But just hours after the "official" tag began appearing on many high-profile accounts, they started disappearing later on Wednesday, and Musk confirmed he personally scrapped the plan. "I just killed it," he tweeted, suggesting making high-profile accounts look the same as average subscribers is actually the intent. "Blue check will be the great leveler," he said. Crawford said the "official" label is "still going out," but "we are just focusing on government and commercial entities to begin with."
Crawford had explained on Tuesday that Twitter Blue won't include ID verification, leading to criticism that this will defeat the purpose of blue checkmarks, which were meant to signal an account really belongs to a public figure or organization. Musk has vowed to suspend users who try to impersonate others using a blue checkmark. After scrapping the new "official" tag, he warned "that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months" but said "we will keep what works & change what doesn't."