“Official” tag appears and disappears from Twitter

Elon Musk was trying Wednesday to reassure big companies that have Twitter announcements that his chaotic takeover of the social media platform isn’t going to hurt their brands, admitting “some dumb things” could happen on the way to creating what which he says will be a better and safer experience for the user.

The latest blip on advertisers’ minds was Musk’s decision to abolish a new “official” tag on celebrity Twitter accounts just hours after introducing it.

Twitter began adding gray “official” labels to some prominent accounts on Wednesday, including from brands like Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple, to indicate they are authentic. A few hours later, the tags began to disappear.

“Please understand that Twitter is going to be doing a lot of dumb stuff in the next few months,” Musk tweeted. “We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t.”

“Aside from being an aesthetic nightmare when looking at the flow on Twitter, it was another way to create a two-class system,” Tesla’s CEO told advertisers in a conversation broadcast on Twitter. “It wasn’t dealing with the core issue.”

They were Musk’s most sweeping comments on Twitter’s future since he finalized a $44 billion deal to acquire the company last month.

The release hours before the “official” labels seemed arbitrary, as some politicians, news outlets and well-known personalities received the label and others did not. Musk appeared to acknowledge the confusion and accepted his role as “Twitter’s Complaint Line Operator” by inviting users to send complaints to him.

Newspaper sites like The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal received an official designation, like most corporate brands. And then the labels disappeared.

Before fading away, the labels caused confusion. For example, users in London were able to see the tag on the BBC News account, but users in the United States were not.

The platform’s current system of using what it calls “blue checkmarks” to confirm the authenticity of an account is going away soon for those who don’t pay a monthly subscription.

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