Twitter recently announced that it is revamping its verification process and bringing back the infamous blue checkmark. This program is set to help users easily identify authentic and notable accounts on the platform, while also providing more transparency on how the verification process works.
The blue checkmark was first introduced in 2009 as a way to verify the accounts of public figures and high-profile individuals. However, the program was suspended in 2017 after Twitter received backlash for verifying the account of a white supremacist. Since then, users have been clamoring for a more transparent and inclusive verification process, and Twitter has listened.
So, what’s new about the blue check program?
First and foremost, Twitter is expanding the types of accounts that can be verified. In addition to public figures, government officials, and brands, Twitter is now allowing journalists, activists, and other influential individuals to apply for verification (this isn’t actually that new, as we know many activists, journalists and influential people who have blue check verification). Depending on how this all actually rolls out, this might (might) be a big step towards creating a more diverse and inclusive verification process, which was a key criticism of the old program.
Another change, and one that is a long time coming, is that Twitter will now have a more clear and consistent set of guidelines for verification. This will help users understand what criteria they need to meet in order to be considered for verification. The new guidelines will focus on account authenticity, completeness, and public interest.
Twitter is also planning to introduce a new verification application process later this year. The process will include a series of questions that will help Twitter understand why an account should be verified, and what makes it notable. Applicants will also need to provide identification, such as a government-issued ID or a passport (and of course Twitter is promising that your data will remain secure… but that is for a whole other conversation on another day).
One of the most significant changes is that Twitter will be removing the blue checkmark from accounts that violate its rules. This is a much-needed move, as previously verified accounts have been able to continue spreading harmful content without facing any consequences. By taking away verification status from violators, Twitter is sending a message that it will not tolerate bad behavior on its platform.
While this is on one hand a blatant cash-grab by the tech giant, on the other hand by expanding the types of accounts that can be verified, creating clear guidelines, and introducing a new application process, Twitter is making verification more accessible and transparent. Additionally, by taking away verification status from rule-breakers, Twitter is showing its commitment to creating a safer and more responsible platform for all users.
Are you someone with a “legacy” blue check and thinking about whether to opt into the new subscription service?
I would suggest considering the pros and cons. The big con of course is that a verification badge used to be a free program whose main goal was to protect brand-sensitive companies and prominent figures from being faked or spoofed on Twitter. There is of course a level of prestige in having that blue checkmark as a sign of importance, which is a valuable social-proof.
Now that conceivably anyone can purchase a blue checkmark, the prestige factor is diminished.
The pro side is that as a big brand or a prominent figure the blue checkmark is a level of protection from being spoofed or faked by people with less-benevolent intentions. If the price for the blue tick mark is reasonable, I would recommend subscribing given the relative level of protection this provides you and/or your organization.