Verified Accounts on Twitter, Previously Indicated by a Blue Badge, Will Now Sport a Text Label on Profile Pages

Esther Crawford, project manager at Twitter:

A lot of folks have asked about how you’ll be able to distinguish between @TwitterBlue subscribers with blue checkmarks and accounts that are verified as official, which is why we’re introducing the “Official” label to select accounts when we launch.

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 verified badge was supposed to indicate accounts which were legitimate and high-profile, and could potentially be a source of confusion or impersonation. But it morphed into something more like a badge of approval by Twitter. It got really messy and I wonder if most people know what the badge actually means at this point.

This new version seems like an improvement. It clearly labels accounts as “official”, and sort of makes the familiar blue badge an indicator of whether a user pays for Twitter. These are not terrible ideas. But Twitter will not be applying this policy universally or consistently, as already-verified accounts will not currently be required to pay up or lose their badge, nor will they necessarily receive the new “official” label. If I am reading this right, it is also possible that “official” accounts may not necessarily have the blue badge — just the little “official” label. It is all a bit of a shambles right now.

That is kind of the story of the whole rollout, too — a bit of a shambles. I get that Twitter’s new owner wanted to shake things up at a clearly mismanaged company, but there was no reason to make people sleep on the floor for a premature rollout of a new subscription service. Overthinking a project can lead to decision paralysis, but this appears to have been executed without much thought at all. It is going to be a bumpy ride.

Update: Things are going about as well as can be expected.