Related video: LeBron James among celebrities impersonated on Twitter by verified accounts

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In the latest indication that everything is Absolutely Fine at Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover last month, the social media platform has confirmed it has now gone back to labelling accounts as ‘official’ – despite deciding to ditch that policy just several hours prior.

The baffling scenes come after the website rolled out ‘blue checkmark’ verification on its paid subscription offer, Twitter Blue, for $8 a month – meaning any user could claim the badge previously reserved for “notable” accounts in the world of “government, news, entertainment” or more.

This has gone down exactly as you would expect it to, with fake accounts paying the $8 fee to impersonate Nintendo (and share an image of Mario giving us the middle finger), former US president George W. Bush and ex-UK prime minister Tony Blair.

On Tuesday, Esther Crawford, who works on early stage products at Twitter, tweeted: “A lot of folks have asked about how you’ll be able to distinguish between Twitter Blue 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.”

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The announcement was mocked by users as being “a verification process for verified users”, with verification being made public “only to put another layer of verification on top of it”:


Yet just a day later, Twitter Support announced: “We’re not currently putting an ‘Official’ label on accounts but we are aggressively going after impersonation and deception.”

What that aggressive approach looks like was not made clear by the social media account, but it looks like we got a good idea on Friday morning, when Twitter Support decided it was going to go back to adding ‘Official’ labels to certain accounts after all.

“To combat impersonation, we’ve added an ‘Official’ label to some accounts,” they confirmed.

The back and forth is giving us whiplash, and it seems other Twitter users couldn’t quite believe it either, describing it as “beyond satire”:

Musk himself has acknowledged a trial and error approach to features, telling his followers on Wednesday that “Twitter will do lots of dumb things in the coming months”.

“We will keep what works and change what doesn’t,” he said.

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