After an initial announcement surrounding a revamped verification process last month, Twitter has confirmed that it will resume verification of qualified Twitter accounts starting early 2021.
In a blog post published Dec. 17, Twitter revealed that it had “received more than 22,000 responses” from users regarding the announcement. User feedback is critical in improving Twitter’s verification process, which was suspended three years ago due to public outcry over a verified account ran by an organizer of a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville that killed one woman. As a result of the online backlash, Twitter has removed the verified badge of the neo-Nazi organizer.
The process for verification will be in line with the social media giant’s January policy changes. The improved verification process will cover both automated and manual verification, which aims to ensure that Twitter is “reviewing applications thoughtfully and in a timely manner.” A self-serve application will also include potential applicants being asked for verification through “links and other supporting materials.”
According to Twitter, there are six primary fields that they are considering to be part of the verification group. These include (1) government; (2) companies, brands and non-profit organizations; (3) news; (4) entertainment; (5) sports; and (6) activists, organizers and other influential individuals.
The six primary fields will also include sub-classifications to make them “more inclusive.” For example, “news” will include accounts that cover news and journalists, while accounts under the “sports” category will include traditional sports and esports. “Entertainment” is added as a category to include content creators at large.
Aside from the renewed verification process, early 2021 will also mark Twitter’s process of removing verified badges for accounts that are inactive and “incomplete.” According to Twitter, accounts that have a profile image, display image and a verified email address or phone number are considered “complete.” Without all three features, accounts may risk losing their blue tick mark.
In addition, accounts that have repeated violations of Twitter’s Rules and Terms of Service may also lose their verified badge by next year. Each account will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and Twitter has ensured its online community of “improvements in 2021 on the relationship between enforcement of our rules and verification.”
Beyond the January 2021 resumption of Twitter’s verification process, the social media giant has plans of expanding the verification status of users to include “Automated Accounts” and “Memorial Accounts.”
Automated Accounts are designed to give out automated tweets such as self-care reminders and earthquake reports that are usually reported or spread by bots. According to Twitter, the plan on designing Automated Accounts is to allow people to easily identify bot accounts and accounts run by humans. Similar to Facebook’s memorialized accounts, Twitter’s Memorial Accounts is a special account type for users who have passed away. In line with this, Twitter will include an “updated policy for memorialization” and a “new application flow” in order for accounts to be granted such status.
With this move, Twitter aims to make verification less random and arbitrary than it was three years ago, which was one of the main reasons for the massive public outcry that forced Twitter to temporarily halt its verification process.
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