Twitter’s “official” gray checkmarks seem to making their way back to accounts owned by brands, publishers and other public figures. The website initially rolled out its official badges — the ones you can’t buy with its new $8 Blue subscription service — on November 9th. But it paused deployment and pulled them back down from accounts that already had them, including Engadget’s, just a few hours later. Twitter VP Esther Crawford explained that the checkmarks will be back, it’s just that the social network is going to hand them out to “government and commercial entities” at first.
As The Verge reports, the badge has now started reappearing on brand and company accounts like Coca-Cola’s and Nintendo of America’s. Twitter’s own accounts are also displaying the gray checkmark. And some publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Wired have them now, as well. It’s unclear if rollout has truly started this time, and if it has anything to do with the influx of impersonator and parody accounts that have flooded the website since its $8 verification has debuted.
Shortly after the company’s paid verification scheme went live, fake accounts shelled out for a subscription and got themselves verified. That led to legitimate-looking accounts tweeting out questionable things, such as a fake Nintendo of America posting a picture of Mario giving Twitter the middle finger and a fake LeBron James announcing that he was requesting a trade. On its support account, Twitter said yesterday that it was not “putting an ‘Official’ label on accounts” yet, but it’s “aggressively going after impersonation and deception.” The gray checkmark, however, could help people figure out if they’re dealing with actual companies and public figures.
As a response to the situation, the company implemented a new rule that blocks accounts created on or after November 9th from its $8 Blue subscription to prevent them from getting instant verification. Twitter owner Elon Musk also announced that going forward, accounts doing parody impersonation must include the word “parody” in their name, not just in their bio. That’s been a part of Twitter’s policy for years, but we’re guessing the website will now be enforcing the rule more strictly in light of recent events.
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