Say Hello (And Goodbye) To Twitter’s New Grey Checkmark

"Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months."

Elon Musk looking defeated alongside a large grey Twitter checkmark

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Is there a more terrifying announcement for young professionals than “we’ve just hired a new leader with bold and big ideas for the company”?

Sadly, almost everyone has experienced that “new boss feeling” — you know, when your initial optimism about a change of leadership is trampled by the arrival of a boss (almost always a man) that instantly manages to make the worst imaginable decisions for your workplace.

So, we can of course sympathise with Twitter’s embattled remaining employees, who have been forced to make some confusing changes to their account verification system after the arrival of billionaire boss from hell, Elon Musk.

In a series of decisions resembling a Silicon Valley highlight reel, Musk’s central push for the social media platform has been to transform that signature blue tick into an $8 USD per month subscription service. But following the official launch of Twitter Blue this week, almost everyone is perplexed about how user verification on the platform is supposed to work.

For example, since anyone can purchase a blue tick — a mark that symbolises an account has been verified by fact checkers — how would users theoretically differentiate the verified account for NSW Health, for example, from an account with the same name that solely posted COVID misinformation?

This is a lesson that video game company Nintendo learnt the hard way after a troll mimicked the official page for Nintendo America and then posted a photo of Mario presenting his middle finger,  the REAL Nintendo to field a mass of complaints.

This dilemma caused Twitter to respond overnight by introducing a free, new, grey checkmark that symbolises an account that has been fact checked by Twitter staff. You know, like what the blue tick used to do! Sadly, to describe the system as ‘arbitrary’ would be an understatement.

As Twitter began rolling out the grey tick, users were quick to notice that random YouTubers and magazines were seemingly given priority for the official verification over high-profile government figures like the President of the United States.

Fast forward twelve hours later, the grey checkmark was no longer. In lieu of a concise and clear answer to why the system had been scrapped, Musk chose to announce he had killed the feature with a four-word explanation hidden in the replies of a popular YouTuber’s account.

In a follow-up message, Musk reassured users that Twitter will be doing lots of “dumb things in coming months”, presumably as Musk tries to figure out what his $44 billion takeover of the company has really bought him.

Speaking of bad decisions, Musk raised the prospect of putting all of Twitter behind a paywall in the coming months, so enjoy posting while you can, folks!

Image credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images