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Twitter public relations AKA Elon Musk’s personal Twitter account announced just after midnight today that Twitter will likely re-launch the Verified program next week Friday, on December 2. The new program will have multiple colors for different kinds of accounts, and Musk says that there will be manual verification before the checkmark activates.

Verified companies will get a gold checkmark, verified government accounts will get a grey checkmark, and individuals — celebrity or not — will get a blue checkmark.

The biggest question: how will Twitter manually verified all accounts before the checkmark activates? The company dropped about half of its 7,500 employees in a mass layoff, another 1,000 or so quit when confronted with an ultimatum from Musk to work harder, and Twitter also axed about 80% of its contractor workforce.

That suggests Musk will either offload the verification task onto other entities (contracted companies? Amazon’s Mechanical Turk?) or take a very long time to work through reported about 400,000 verified accounts. Alternatively, the launch date could get punted farther down the road: Musk does use the word “tentatively” in his launch announcement.

The verified status for governments and companies seems to be free; the verified status for individual accounts will likely require Twitter’s revamped Twitter Blue subscription at $8/month.

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Twitter originally re-launched the Verified program in early November, then rolled it back as problems emerged.

Essentially, the new levels of verification will reveal which accounts are official, but the personal level of verification that the blue checkmark has always indicated will now be available to anyone.

Still an open question, as I asked on November 9: which companies and which media outlets are big enough to be official?

“What Twitter means by “major” media outlets remains to be seen, but suggests there’s some cut-off between outlets that are big enough to be Official and others that are not. Similarly, the wording of “some public figures” indicates that there’s a cut-off at some level determining who can be official. What those cut-offs are remains to be seen.”

Under Elon Musk Twitter has been veering away from being an almost-entirely ad supported service to a subscription service. Twitter would need 64 million subscribers to replace prior revenue at its previous level of expenses. But now, of course, new owner and CEO Musk has considerably cut costs, meaning a much lower bar will make the service profitable.

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