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The Margin: Elon Musk teases a new three-color Twitter verification plan: ‘We’ll see how it goes’

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Going on Twitter could be getting even more colorful.

New CEO Elon Musk wants to expand on its hallmark blue verification badge with a few more colors, including: a “gold check” for companies, a “grey check” for government accounts, along with the already infamous “blue check” for individuals.

The multi-colored verification system is “tentatively launching” next week, Musk explained in a series of Black Friday tweets, and all verified accounts will need to be manually authenticated in a “painful, but necessary” process.

The Tesla
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and SpaceX CEO elaborated in the Twitter thread that “all verified individual humans will have same blue check,” regardless of whether they are notable accounts or celebrities, while adding that a further explanation of Twitter’s verification plan will come next week.

Musk added that, “deliberate impersonation/deception will result in account suspension,” and, “we shall see how it goes.”

Musk and Twitter were not immediately available for comment.

See also: Elon Musk has ‘no mercy’ for Alex Jones and won’t reinstate his Twitter account

The multi-colored verification plans come while Twitter has paused its $8-a-month Twitter Blue verification subscription service after several users created fake verified accounts that impersonated notable accounts and spread misinformation. These included accounts impersonating numerous reporters and drugmaker Eli Lilly
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— whose stock price plummeted, erasing billions in market capitalization, after a phony Eli Lilly account tweeted the company would be giving out insulin for free — as well as several world leaders.

Twitter verification launched in 2009 to help users distinguish “which accounts we know are ‘real’ and authentic.” And while Twitter was still run by founder Jack Dorsey, a blue verification badge or “blue check mark” was something users could apply to for free, and was awarded to notable public figure accounts including politicians, journalists and celebrities, among other categories.

Read more: What does Twitter verification really mean? And what may happen to it?

But Musk has made expanding the verification process a cornerstone of his Twitter takeover, along with combatting bot accounts. So earlier this month, Twitter introduced an official gray badge to go along with its blue verified badge — but Musk “killed” the plan after a few hours, warning that, “Twitter will do lots of dumb things in the coming months.”

See also: Tesla stock climbs, shrugging off recall of about 80,000 cars in China

During this time of flux for Twitter, some users have started turning to other social media platforms that are somewhat similar, including Tumblr, Mastodon and Hive Social. (And that’s caused something of a headache for other companies named “Hive,” it turns out.)

Read more: 9 Twitter alternatives, like Mastodon and Hive Social, in case the social network shuts down on Elon Musk’s watch — or you just want to quit

And: Twitter alternative Hive Social is giving another ‘Hive’ site a bump in traffic

Twitter fired roughly half its staff in late October after Musk acquired the platform, and the company is set to lay off more Twitter workers in the sales department in the near future, according to a WSJ report. Several high-profile advertisers have also been pulling out of the platform, leading critics like author Stephen King to joke that, “pretty soon the only advertiser left on Twitter will be MyPillow.”

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