Twitter plans to relaunch its account verification program, including a new public application process, next year. The social media biggie had stopped accepting public applications for the "blue tick" verified badges back in November 2017 after hearing feedback that the process felt arbitrary and confusing.
"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it," Twitter said back then.
Three years later, the company has come up with an updated verification policy defining what verification means, who is eligible for verification, and why it may automatically de-verify some accounts that don't meet the required criteria.
Twitter details its new verification policy
Twitter has categorized six types of "notable" accounts that can apply for verification under its new policy: government; companies, brands, and non-profit organizations; news; entertainment; sports; activists, organizers, and other influential individuals.
Each account will also have to meet certain criteria to get the blue verified badge. For instance, individual accounts of artists and performers must have verified websites, or similar official public source, that link to their profiles. Additionally, such individuals also must have five production credits on their IMDB profile or three or more featured references in verified news outlets within the past six months.
To be fair, the first five categories are quite well-defined and easily recognizable. The last category – activists, organizers, and other influential individuals – on the other hand, is broad and may cover individuals from different backgrounds. To ensure transparency, Twitter has clarified which accounts fall under this category.
As per the new policy, "people who are using Twitter effectively to bring awareness, share information, and galvanize community members around a cause, to bring about socio-economic, political, or cultural change, or to otherwise foster community," may apply for verification on Twitter.
Such accounts must demonstrate consistent usage of Twitter and do not primarily post content that harasses, shames, or insults any individual or group. Twitter may deny or revoke verification if accounts are found to be involved in "artificial or inauthentic activity."
All accounts applying for verification must also be very active on Twitter. They also must have a complete profile with a confirmed email address or phone number. Last but not least, the account must not have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules in the past six months.
Twitter wants user feedback on the new policy
To avoid a repeat of the 2017-like confusion, Twitter is seeking feedback from the users before enforcing the new policy. It has made a draft of the policy available to the public. It has also launched a survey where users can respond to questions about the verified badges on Twitter. Users can also share their feedback through tweets with the hashtag #VerificationFeedback.
The public feedback period is now live and will continue until December 8, 2020. Twitter says it will review the public feedback and introduce the final policy on December 17, 2020.
Additionally, the company is also working with local non-governmental organizations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure that its new verification policy represents as many perspectives as possible.
Twitter says it will introduce more ways to identify accounts on its platform in the future. This year, the company verified accounts of over 1,000 health experts tweeting about the COVID-19 pandemic. It also added identification labels to accounts of several political and media individuals and organizations ahead of the US election. "This is just the beginning of what we have planned for 2021," Twitter said.