“I just killed it,” tweeted Twitter’s billionaire owner Elon Musk, responding to a tweet about the gray check disappearing. “Blue check will be the great leveler.”
The gray checks were supposed to be Twitter’s way of helping the public identify legitimate accounts for public figures, celebrities, news outlets, and other high-profile users. To be clear, that’s what the original blue check was for — until Musk said the verified badge would be available for purchase via Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service.
Yesterday, it was announced that an additional gray check would instead designate authentic high-profile accounts. Politicians, news outlets (including @verge), celebrities, and brand accounts were briefly double-verified this morning.
Twitter staff have been working on pushing out the new version of Twitter Blue around the clock, even posting about sleeping in the office to get the job done. Esther Crawford, who’s leading the Twitter Blue overhaul, tweeted that the “Official” label will still be part of the Twitter Blue rollout but limited to “government and commercial entities” at first, not individual users. The rapidly changing environment and priorities at the company speak to what we can likely expect with Musk at the helm.
In a follow-up tweet after the gray checks disappeared, Musk warned that the company “will do lots of dumb things in coming months” and keep only what works. Crawford quickly parroted Musk’s tweet, saying there were no sacred cows at the company. Apparently, it took Twitter just a few hours of having them live to figure out that gray checks were a bad idea?