Twitter on Friday said it will relaunch its account verification process from January 20, whereby active and authentic user accounts can sport the ”blue verified badge”. The enforcement of the new process will also see the microblogging platform removing the verified badge from inactive and incomplete accounts.
In November, Twitter had announced that it will relaunch its account verification process in early 2021 and had asked the public to share feedback between November 24 and December 8 on a draft of its new verification policy. The company had paused its public verification programme three years ago, after getting feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.
”In the two weeks during our public feedback period, we received more than 22,000 survey responses and learned so much about how we can improve our policy… We’ll begin enforcing this policy on January 20, 2021, which is also when we’ll begin automatically removing the verified badge from inactive and incomplete accounts,” Twitter said in a blogpost. It added that this new policy will lay the foundation for future improvements by defining what verification means, who is eligible for verification and why some accounts might lose verification ”to ensure the program is more equitable”.
Twitter said based on the feedback, it has updated some areas of its verification policy. The social media platform has updated its definition to no longer require a profile bio or header image, updated its references to Wikipedia to better align with the encyclopedias’ published standards for notability and article quality, and clarified the titles of the ’News’ category to include ’News and Journalists’ and the ’Sports’ category to include ’Sports and esports’ to be more inclusive. Twitter has also added a reference in its ’Entertainment’ category to more clearly include digital content creators.
”We heard feedback that measuring the minimum follower count requirement on a per-country basis wasn’t always the right approach, so we’ve updated this to be on a per-region basis to make our follower count requirements less susceptible to spam and more equitable across geographies,” it said. Users will be able to access the self-serve application process through the Account Settings page on the web and in-app. The process will include asking applicants to select a category for their verified status and confirming their identity via links and other supporting materials.
”We plan to use both automated and human review processes to ensure that we are reviewing applications thoughtfully and in a timely manner. We also plan to give people the option to share demographic information after completing the new verification application so that we can better measure and improve the equity of our verification process,” it added.
Twitter said it has started rolling out profile labels for political candidates, government accounts and state-affiliated media. ”In addition to the changes we’re making as we re-introduce verification, we’re also working on new ways to designate different account types, starting with automated accounts and memorial accounts,” it said. Twitter noted that many people had suggested it add categories for verification including academics, scientists and religious leaders, and that it plans to explore adding dedicated categories for these to the policy sometime next year.
On removal of the badge from inactive and incomplete accounts, Twitter said it defines a complete account as one that has either a verified email address or phone number, a profile image, and a display name. ”If your account is at risk of losing its verified badge, you’ll receive an automated email and an in-app notification informing you of what changes need to avoid automatic removal of your blue verified badge. As long as you make those changes before January 20, 2021, your account will not lose its badge,” it said. Twitter added that it is not planning to automatically remove the verified badge from inactive accounts of people who are no longer living, and is working on building a way to memorialise these accounts in 2021.
”Under our policy, we may also remove verification from accounts that are found to be in severe or repeated violation of the Twitter Rules. We will continue to evaluate such accounts on a case-by-case basis, and will make improvements in 2021 on the relationship between enforcement of our rules and verification,” it said.