May 20, 2021 - Economy

Twitter says anyone can now apply to have a verified account


Twitter has begun rolling out a new verification process and says moving forward, it will accept and review all public applications for verification on Twitter. 

Why it matters: Executives told press during a briefing Wednesday that for a long time, people have complained that the verification process felt unfair.

Details: Twitter rolled out three major changes to its verification process globally:

  1. It's posting all of the guidelines for how it choses which accounts to verify online, that way there is no confusion over which accounts are selected.
  2. It's making verification applications open to the public, so that anyone that wants to be verified, can at least apply. (Being verified means you have a blue check mark next to your profile name on Twitter, which signals validity.)
  3. It's explaining how it defines "notable" accounts, which are accounts that should be verified as authentic and of "high-public interest."

Yes, but: Twitter says it recognizes that making this process so public could be risky, as users could fake requirements they see online. But it says it's hired up to make sure every application is reviewed by a human.

  • People who submit applications will hear back via Twitter in one to four weeks with an email saying whether or now they've been verified. If a user is rejected, they can reapply after 30 days.

The criteria to be verified is rooted in three account qualities: notability, authenticity and activity.

  • Notability means your account is linked to certain types of important people or groups including, government, journalism, science, academia, religion, entertainment, sports, etc.
  • Authenticity means an account true to what it says it is. Twitter says an account's engagement is often a sign of authenticity.
  • Activity means that the account has been active for the last six months, and has a confirmed email or phone number. The account also cannot have any and recent track record of breaking Twitter's community standards.

By the numbers: Twitter says there are around 360,000 accounts that are verified today. It's unclear how the new verification process will change that number. More than 33,000 people submitted public comments about how Twitter should changes its verification process.

  • Twitter says bot accounts can still be verified. "Trust in automated accounts is just as important as trust in a specify person's account," says B Byrne, a product lead at Twitter. The company is also looking into ways to apply verification for humor and satire accounts.

Flashback: Twitter started verifying accounts shortly after launching in 2009. The first account it ever verified was the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. It paused verifications in 2017 to get feedback about the process.

The big picture: Verification is core to the Twitter experience because "it helps inform people of the authenticity of accounts with high public interest," Byrne said.

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