If you hadn’t already noticed, Twitter is kinda on fire right now - and not in a good way. Despite claims from new owner Elon Musk that the $8/month verification model would reduce the amount of spam on the platform, that seems far from the case, with several users proving it’s easier than ever to impersonate a brand or individual. Thankfully, some third-party developers have arrived to help fix Twitter’s problems, and you can put their tool to use right away.
The TL;DR for one of Twitter’s many problems right now is that there are two types of Verification, but it’s not instantly clear which type an account has. There’s classic Verification, where Twitter actually verified who you say you are, and a new kind for Twitter Blue subscribers (which costs $8 (around £7 / AU$12) per month) that gives you a near identical checkmark with no actual checks (it's basically a pointless sticker now).
The only way to tell which type an account has is to go to their profile and click on the checkmark next to their name. This is more hassle than many people are willing to go through and we’ve already seen tweets go viral from fake accounts for Nintendo of America, Former US President George W. Bush, and basketball star LeBron James, among others; with many people believing that these fakers were the real deal. Who could have predicted this would happen? Well, everyone except Elon Musk it seems.
This is where the new browser extension Eight-Dollars comes in. The free tool – created by developers Wseager, Waltzaround, and Noway – can alter Twitter’s appearance on your computer’s browser and will reveal if people are actually verified or if they just paid for it.
People that were Verified the traditional way have a classic-looking checkmark and the words “Actually Verified” by their username. Meanwhile, people who are only Verified because of their Twitter Blue subscription have a dollar sign instead of a check and the words “Paid for Verification” by their name. People that have Blue and original verification (like steamer and events organizer Ludwig Ahrgren) are assigned Actually Verified status at the time of writing.
Best of all, this extension shows you which type of verification a person has on every tweet they post – you don’t need to click on anything – so you can instantly determine if an account is real or potentially a faker.
The solution isn’t perfect though. For one, not every account that has paid for verification is fake. Some people use Blue for its other features like Tweet editing and not to cause online chaos. For another, this fix is only available on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge browsers – if you exclusively browse Twitter on your phone, you’re out of luck.
Lastly, this extension requires you to install it manually through GitHub. That being said, we found the setup process to be super simple. We had it up and running in well under a minute using the Chrome instructions on the GitHub page.
Twitter has floated its own solution to its verification issue – namely a bonus “Official” tag that appears on tweets from official accounts – but its introduction has (unsurprisingly) been messy. At first, every properly verified account was tagged Official, then none were, and now some brand accounts are but there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme nor reason to which accounts are tagged Official. Case in point, Nintendo’s Japanese and European accounts are but at the time of writing Nintendo of America is not Official.
Given the number of U-turns Elon Musk has completed since taking over Twitter there’s no guarantee that Official will stick around. So for now, we’d recommend downloading Eight-Dollars if you want to feel a bit safer when doom scrolling through the internet’s latest social media dumpster fire.
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Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.