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The Twitter Verification debacle is messier than before

  • Twitter was meant to remove legacy verification checkmarks on Saturday but that process appears to be a lot slower than previously thought.
  • Twitter’s checkmark now includes that the account paid for Twitter Blue or was legacy verified.
  • Twitter’s recommendation algorithm was also released to the public this weekend with a few interesting discoveries.

Saturday was the dawn of a new Twitter, a Twitter where the lords and peasants system of yore for verification was gone. In it’s place stands a new system, one where anybody can be verified, so long as they cough up the subscription fee for Twitter Blue.

Except, the old Legacy verification system still appears to be around. This as clicking on a Blue checkmark reads, “This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue or is a legacy verified account”.

Essentially then, legacy verification and Twitter Blue subscriptions are now being lumped into a single pool. The reasons for this are unclear. Twitter’s Verified account is mum on the topic as is the owner Elon Musk.

One account that was verified in the old system, The New York Times, lost its verification mark at the weekend after claiming it wouldn’t pay for Twitter Blue. Notably, organisations have to pay $1 000 per month to be verified unlike the $8 – $11 regular users have to pay.

Another account that decried the changes was LeBron James.

However, despite this tweet gaining a fair amount of traction and media coverage, James still has his verification mark. We’re not saying that Musk is using removal of the Blue checkmark as a punishment for accounts he doesn’t like, but the disappearance of The New York Times’ checkmark and James’ remaining doesn’t exactly send a clear message.

Furthermore, The Verge reports that Twitter will give the 500 biggest advertisers on the platform free verification. This could potentially hurt Twitter further down the line when big content creators who drive users to the platform ask for similar treatment.

We know the old system was flawed but all of this chopping and changing really gives the impression that Twitter is making up the rules as it goes.

That was, unfortunately, not the only controversy that Twitter was embroiled in at the weekend.

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On Friday, as promised, Twitter’s recommendation algorithm was made public and it contained some interesting tracking metrics.

There are four groups on Twitter namely:

  • Power User,
  • Republican,
  • Democrat,
  • Elon.

That’s right, Twitter has been tracking how tweets from each of those groups performs. While Elon Musk being tracked is sort of funny, the idea that the global network of Twitter users is being separated along US party lines is concerning.

The Elon category has reportedly been removed with Musk saying he had no idea that it was even in the code.

When quizzed about this tracking, Twitter developers reportedly said that the tracking for the groups above was purely for statistics. However, Mashable reports that a note in the source code stats that it was used to insure that changes didn’t negatively affect the groups above. So if a change negatively affected Musk’s tweets, it would more than likely be pinned no matter how valuable it may be to the wider user base.

If anything, this weekend revealed just how big of a mess there is at Twitter and when it comes to verification and it’s underlying code.

We have to wonder how long the duct tape that’s holding Twitter together lasts.

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