Twitter is currently on fire. With Elon Musk as owner and CEO, the company has changed many rules and regulations users (and advertisers) had come to expect from the platform. The latest drama, however, concerns Twitter verification, and it’s throwing a wrench in the ability to tell which accounts are real and which are fake.
The “blue checkmark” on Twitter was more than just a status symbol. Twitter’s verification process served as a means of identification: If you saw a blue check next to an account, say, for a politician, you knew that account was official, and not an impersonator. Accounts needed to be vetted to prove both their identity and noteworthiness before receiving a blue check, which is a good thing.
Under the direction of Musk, though, anyone can buy a blue check by subscribing to Twitter Blue for $US8 ($11) a month. Since the change, identifying legitimate users has been a challenge. In fact, Twitter Blue subscribers have taken advantage of the system to pull off pranks, impersonating accounts like Nintendo of America, President Biden, and, of course, Elon Musk himself
Can’t imagine why all the advertisers are pulling out of Twitter lmao pic.twitter.com/pg55WXkxhS
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) November 9, 2022
While Twitter HQ is no doubt figuring out solutions to these issues, there’s a smaller problem all of us need to contend with: How can you tell whether an account is actually verified, or if the user simply bought their checkmark through Twitter Blue? Even if the account in question isn’t using this checkmark for any false or nefarious use, it’s still confusing, and makes some accounts appear more important or official than they actually are.
Twitter’s built-in solution for identifying verified accounts
Twitter initially rolled out a new white checkmark for verified accounts, that lived underneath the user’s name (I guess two checkmarks are better than one?). However, Musk “killed” that plan almost immediately. Again, the site is on fire.
Now the only built-in way to tell whether a Twitter account is verified or a subscriber is to click or tap on the account itself. Once on that page, you can click or tap on the checkmark to see one of two messages:
- This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category.
- This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue.
The messages are pretty clear: If someone was truly verified, you’ll see the first message, but if they only subscribe to Twitter Blue, you’ll see the second. However, this solution isn’t a good one if you want to know an account’s verification status as you scroll through your feed. Who wants to click through each and every account to check?
If you use Google Chrome, however, you can install the extension “Eight Dollars” to do what Twitter won’t. Once installed, it replaces the blue check with one of two new badges: “Actually Verified,” or “Paid for Verification.”
To start, open Chrome, then type chrome://extensions in the URL bar and hit enter. Turn on the Developer mode toggle, then download the extension from the Github link here. Now, unzip the folder, click the Load Unpacked button in Chrome and choose the new folder. Check to make sure Eight Dollars is enabled from Chrome’s extensions page.