Twitter relaunching verification
The company said some verified accounts could lose their blue tick status as part of the revamp, which could remove the badge from inactive or incomplete accounts.
Under proposed new rules, Twitter said it would look to verify six main types of account: those aligned with government; companies, brands and non-profit organisations; news; entertainment; sports; and activists, organisers and other “influential individuals”.
It said these parameters could be broadened over time, but acknowledged it wanted to cut the number of verified accounts.
“We recognise that there are many verified accounts on Twitter who should not be,” a Twitter blog post said.
“We plan to start by automatically removing badges from accounts that are inactive or have incomplete profiles to help streamline our work and to expand this to include additional types of accounts over the course of 2021.”
The social media platform paused its public verification programme three years ago when chief executive Jack Dorsey described it as “broken”.
That description was made after Twitter was widely criticised for verifying the account of one of the organisers of a far-right rally in the US.
The social media site said the incident had shown how verification was being viewed differently to what was intended and as a result needed a revamp.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it,” Twitter said at the time.
In its update on the relaunch, Twitter urged users to send their feedback on the proposed policies to help fine-tune the system and prevent any further confusion.
The site has asked people to complete a brief survey on the draft verification policy by posting it to Twitter with the hashtag #VerificationFeedback.
“We know we can’t solve verification with a new policy alone – and that this initial policy won’t cover every case for being verified – but it is a critical first step in helping us provide more transparency and fairer standards for verification on Twitter as we reprioritise this work,” the platform said.
“This version of the policy is a starting point, and we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year.”
Twitter plans to relaunch verification program next year
Twitter on Tuesday released plans for its new policy on how people are “verified” on the site, an area the company has long promised to revamp to address confusion and criticisms over the blue check-mark badges it uses to authenticate the identity of prominent accounts.
The social media company said in a blog post here that it plans to relaunch its verification program, including a new public application process, in early 2021. It said a public feedback period for the new policy would open on Tuesday and run until Dec. 8.
Twitter said it paused public submissions for verification in 2017 after hearing feedback that the program “felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.” It said at the time the check mark was being confused with “an endorsement or an indicator of importance.”
A year later, Twitter said it was putting fixes to the verification program on the back burner to focus on issues like election integrity, though it has continued to verify some accounts, such as medical experts tweeting about Covid-19 this year.
“Since then, we haven’t been clear about who can become verified and when, why an account might be unverified, or what it means to be verified,” Twitter said in the Tuesday blog post.
The company laid out more detailed criteria here for the “core types” of notable, active accounts it will verify, such as government officials, companies, nonprofits, news organizations, entertainers, sports teams, athletes and activists.
Twitter said it also may verify accounts that meet other standards such as being one of the top-followed accounts in the user’s country and having “off-Twitter notability,” which could be assessed through Google search trends, Wikipedia references or coverage in news outlets.
The company said it may cut the blue badge from accounts that severely or repeatedly violate rules, such as its policies on hateful conduct, civic integrity or glorification of violence. But it said these removals would not be automatic and would be assessed case by case.
Twitter also released proposed grounds for denying verification
for example, accounts that have been locked out for violating rules in the last six months or accounts of individuals associated with hateful content or who have been found to have committed “gross human rights violations.”
Twitter aims to introduce the final policy on December 17. It also indicated plans for more ways for users to identify themselves with new account types and labels.