Three years ago, Twitter paused their public verification program after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people. A year later, Twitter deprioritized this work further to focus on protecting the integrity of the public conversation around critical moments like the 2020 US election. Since then, Twitter hasn’t been clear about who can become verified and when, why an account might be unverified, or what it means to be verified.
We know how important it is to be able to express yourself and understand who you’re talking to on Twitter. So today, we’re sharing the start of our plans to revamp how people can identify themselves on Twitter, starting with verification and asking the public to share feedback on a draft of our new verification policy. Calling for public feedback has become an important part of our policy development process because we want to ensure that, as an open service, our rules reflect the voices of the people who use Twitter.
Building our verification policy
Twitter plans to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021. But first, they would need to update their verification policy with the user’s help. This policy seeks to 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 process is more equitable.
Twitter will start by clearly defining some of the core types of Notable Accounts that are served by verification. As per the proposed policy, “the blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, a user’s account must be notable and active.”
The six types of accounts Twitter has identified to start are:
- Companies, Brands and Non- Profit Organizations
- Activists, Organizers, and Other Influential Individuals
Users can find more detailed definitions of the criteria here.
Twitter has also added proposed criteria to automatically remove verification from an account if, for example, it’s inactive or if the profile is incomplete, as well as grounds to deny or remove verification from certain qualified accounts that are found to be in repeated violation of the Twitter Rules. Twitter does recognize that there are many verified accounts on Twitter that should not be. Their plan is to start by automatically removing badges from accounts that are inactive or have incomplete profiles to help streamline their work and to expand this to include additional types of accounts over the course of 2021.
Twitter acknowledges that it cannot solve verification with a new policy alone — and that this initial policy won’t cover every case for being verified — but it is a critical first step in helping them provide more transparency and fairer standards for verification on Twitter as they reprioritize this work. This version of the policy is a starting point, and Twitter intends to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year.
We want to hear from you
What do you think? Here is a brief survey on our draft verification policy. We are also working with local non-governmental organizations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible.
If you prefer to Tweet your feedback, we’ll be listening there, too. Use the hashtag #VerificationFeedback.
The public feedback period started on November 24, 2020, and continues until December 8, 2020. At that point, Twitter will review the feedback on this policy and train its teams on the new approach. Twitter’s goal is to introduce the final policy on December 17, 2020.
We’re committed to serving the public conversation by helping people find credible information, hear important voices, and trust the authenticity of the accounts people find on Twitter. Thank you for taking the time to be part of this process — we look forward to hearing what you think.
Being able to express yourself is core to the public conversation, and who you talk to is as important as what they’re saying. We want to make space for everyone on Twitter to express their authentic voices by giving people more ways to identify themselves in their Profiles. The blue verified badge and account labels are two of the ways we help distinguish notable, authentic accounts on Twitter. This year, we’ve verified medical experts Tweeting about #COVID19 and added account labels to identify candidates running for office.
Twitter admits that the blue verified badge isn’t the only way they are planning to distinguish accounts. Heading into 2021, Twitter committed to giving people more ways to identify themselves, such as new account types and labels.
We’ll share more in the coming weeks. This is just the beginning of what we have planned for 2021.