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New ‘Official’ verified labels start rolling out on Twitter

Twitter’s latest approach to verification – offering grey ticks and an ‘Official’ label to high-profile accounts – has begun rolling out on the platform.

It comes as the platform prepares to start allowing any user to sign up for its blue-tick verification badge by signing up to the firm’s Twitter Blue subscription service and paying a monthly fee.

In response to concerns this will make it harder to identify authentic accounts on the site as Blue subscribers will not be required to verify who they are, Twitter said it was adding a second, “Official” badge to select accounts as a way of distinguishing Blue subscribers from those the platform has verified as official.

Some industry commentators have argued the new double-verification process will only make the system more confusing.

But the new grey Official badge has now started to appear on a number of high-profile accounts, including those for major news organisations and public figures.

However, it appears accounts already displaying a grey flag badge to tell users the profile is either a government official or organisation are not receiving the new tick.

As a result, the official 10 Downing Street account and personal account of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak do not currently have the Official badge.

Tweeting about the change, Twitter’s director of product management, Esther Crawford, said: “Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘Official’ label and the label is not available for purchase.

“Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures.

“The new Twitter Blue does not include ID verification – it’s an opt-in, paid subscription that offers a blue checkmark and access to select features.

“We’ll continue to experiment with ways to differentiate between account types.”

The changes to the verification system have been a central part of Elon Musk’s plans since the billionaire completed his takeover of the site last month.

Musk said opening the verification process up to more people will help democratise Twitter and cut down on the spam and bot accounts on the site.

However, critics have argued charging people to get a blue badge and the other perks that come with it – including verified replies appearing more prominently – will only help those who are able to pay for it and not the platform’s authentic users as a whole.

The introduction of the eight US dollar (£7) monthly fee for Twitter Blue is also part of Musk’s efforts to create new revenue streams for Twitter.

The platform is currently almost entirely dependent on money from advertising – an income stream already shrinking because of the global economic downturn.

There have also been reports advertisers could withdraw from the site if Musk enacts some of his other controversial plans for Twitter, including allowing banned accounts such as that of Donald Trump to return.