By Sheila Dang and Fanny Potkin
(Reuters) -Billionaire Elon Musk’s social media platform Twitter will introduce an “Official” label for select verified accounts including major media outlets and governments when it launches its new $8 premium subscription product, its early stage products executive Esther Crawford said on Tuesday.
Crawford also confirmed that the revamped Twitter Blue subscription product, which will allow paid users to carry blue check marks on their accounts, will not actually verify users’ identities.
The lack of ID verification is likely to raise concerns about the possibility of people impersonating public figures.
Already, such concerns have caused Twitter to hold off on launching the new version of Twitter Blue until after the U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday, tweeted Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity.
Fake accounts for government officials are a recurring issue for Twitter globally, according to sources familiar with the matter and researchers.
Not all Twitter accounts that were previously verified with a blue check mark will get the “Official” label and the label is not available for purchase, Crawford said.
Accounts that will receive the official label include governments, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some other public figures, she tweeted.
The introduction of a new label alongside the existing check marks “creates a confusing system” where some, but not all, previously verified accounts will be deemed official, said Jason Goldman, a former Twitter board member who served as head of product in its early years.
“It’s a complete mess,” he said.
The official label comes after an internal push by Twitter policy executives, who had strong concerns about government officials around the world being unlikely and unwilling to pay for verified check marks, one source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Twitter, which has lost many members of its communication team, did not respond to a request for further comment.
Crawford added on Tuesday that Twitter will “continue to experiment with ways to differentiate between account types.”
(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru, Fanny Potkin in Edmonton, Canada and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Editing by Josie Kao and Stephen Coates)