Twitter recently relaunched its "blue tick" verification process with a new set of rules and guidelines more catered to 2021.
Twitter recently relaunched its “blue tick” verification process with a new set of rules and guidelines more catered to 2021. More importantly, the new “policy” for Twitter verification is more thought-out and much more comprehensive — though expectedly, still a work in progress — relative to how confusing things were in 2017. That is not to say, there is no confusion at all in its second coming. A lot of people who think they should be verified since they fulfil most of the criteria put out by the microblogging company under its new policy, are being rejected.
To be clear, Twitter verification is applicable only for the following categories:
- Companies, brands, and organisations
- News organisations and journalists
- Sports and gaming
- Activists, organisers, and other influential individuals
In order to make the whole process more transparent and streamlined, Twitter has released an update that will add additional context to rejection emails providing applicants with more details. It is also adding an optional demographic survey to the end of the application, so it can track indicators of bias. Even as it continues to make verification more user-friendly, a team of representatives from the company — B Byrne and Ryan Collado from product and Sarah Husain from policy at Twitter — hosted a Twitter Space on Wednesday (July 7, 2021) to debunk some of the myths about verification and policy with members of the press from around the world.
Do verified accounts get special treatment?
Verified accounts get the blue check mark on their profile, but they’re not getting special treatment in terms of promotion of their content or anything like that. They’re also accountable to the same rules as every other account. There’s nothing special in terms of exemption from the rules. Verification is just one part of our work to help people understand who they’re interacting with on Twitter. It’s not meant to be a special privilege. We know it’s not always easy to evaluate the authenticity of accounts on the Internet, and that understanding who you’re interacting with, particularly these notable accounts that are at the centre of so many conversations on Twitter is really core to our job of serving that public conversation.
How does Twitter verify political accounts?
We have laid out a number of specific positions in government that we have criteria for verifying and we do specify that those people must have a public reference to the account on an official government site, party site, or publication. So, we do allow and encourage political parties and elected officials in those parties to apply. We list out a few examples in our policy of what those offices are. But we don’t require a specific level just because it varies so much from government to government.
What about verifying journalists from smaller publications that report on local issues?
A lot of journalists have been getting rejected in their verification applications because of technical issues or small problems with their application, not because they’re not notable. In the policy, we require that journalists link to the publication where they write in their bio, and a lot of journalists don’t have that in their bio and that results in rejection. A bunch of folks assume that it is something to do with their beat or organisation. It often isn’t that.
We do require the journalists to be writing for organisations that are verified on Twitter, so it is important to make sure that the journalistic outlet gets verified before the journalists themselves. Of course, if they’re writing as a freelance writer and they can be sharing links from multiple different sources that they’re writing for but if the outlet itself isn’t notable, then we don’t consider the journalists writing for them notable.
*There are two things that need to be in order before journalists even fill out their application. They must be employed by verified news organisation and they must reference that news organisation and its official website on their profile. Aside from that, another common mistake is providing an email address that cannot be used to link the applicant’s account to the notability updates that they provided. For instance, you may have provided a link to your author page on the official website of a verified news organisation, but if you provided your personal email address as the authenticity evidence and it’s not referenced on your author page, your request will be denied because ultimately Twitter won’t be able to reliably link your account to the notability evidence.
(That said, our policy today is just a start. We know that they’re we’re not capturing everybody in our first attempt, so we are going to be learning and expanding as we go.)
What if a journalist does not have an author page for the website that they work for?
The author page itself is not a requirement but as a journalist, you do have to identify yourself and link to the official website of your news organisation.
What about verification for journalists writing in non-English languages?
The people who review applications are undergoing rigorous training to ensure that we only verify eligible people, per our policy. We’re still working on getting more support for non-English speaking countries. There are a lot of languages in the world and we want to make sure we can serve them all equitably and make that process faster, particularly wherever you’re applying from. Our team includes those who speak languages from Southeast Asia/Asia Pacific countries.
What about accounts using personal email like Gmail and Hotmail?
Taking a step back, one main focus of our policy and process is for people to trust the authenticity of the accounts people find on Twitter. In order to verify an organisation’s, we need to make sure the account is actually representing that organisation and is owned by someone at that organisation. We need to cross reference that information somewhere and we landed on an official website that lists the account or official email verification. We completely understand that for anonymity or safety reasons, those authenticity methods aren’t always possibilities. We are working on a way to solve this problem as we hear from folks and learn more but in the interim, we have to err on the side of verifying accounts we can prove the authenticity of. It doesn’t mean your account won’t be verifiable in the future, just means we ask for your patience while we figure out a way forward that doesn’t impact the trust of verified accounts.
What about accounts using pseudonyms?
Many people using different names are verified, and often have pseudonyms online. However, if you provide an official email address and an official website which states your pseudonym, you can get verified without any issues.
Does follower count have anything to do with verification?
We focus on accounts that are active, authentic, and notable. Follower count is really just one part of the equation we factor in under the notable criteria. It is never the reason for someone to be verified but just one of the ways. Where we include that as an option is for brand/company/organisational accounts and also activists organisers and influential individuals and digital content creators, or those that wish to be verified outside of the professional categories defined in our policy. As we gain a better understanding of what accounts are applying and also ramp up our approval process, we may alter these thresholds to be more representative of notable accounts on Twitter.
How is Twitter dealing with de-badging?
The accounts badge and verified status can be removed at any time without notice. Some of the more common reasons include account change, when the account becomes inactive, the owner is no longer in the position they were in when they were initially verified and as a result, no longer meets the criteria. So, in these types of scenarios, it would take maybe some sort of communication warning the customer and there will be some period of time before badges are removed. For more severe repeated violations of Twitter rules, those cases are typically escalated and verified statuses are revoked right away. Some examples of this would include impersonation, or any kind of violation that would result in immediate account suspension.
Can someone purchase a blue tick?
Selling or purchasing verification is against our policy. We do not authorise any external agents or individuals to sell verification on Twitter. We encourage people to directly apply through the verification application process available on the Twitter app. As we continue learning and getting feedback from our users, we’ll continue our efforts in making sure that the only way for people to get verified is through the proper-official channels. If you see someone claiming they have purchased verification, please report it to us.