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Blue Badge: Twitter plans to relaunch account verification

Three years ago, Twitter paused its public verification program after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people. A year later, the social media platform 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.

Twitter said it knows how important it is to be able to express yourself and understand who you’re talking to on Twitter. So today, the company said it is sharing the start of plans to revamp how people can identify themselves on Twitter, starting with verification and asking the public to share feedback on a draft of the new verification policy. Calling for public feedback has become an important part of its policy development process because they said they want to ensure that, as an open service, the rules reflect the voices of the people who use Twitter.

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Building our verification policy

Twitter plans to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021. But first, the company needs to update its verification policy with Twitter users’ help. This 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 process is more equitable.

The company is starting by more clearly defining some of the core types of Notable Accounts that are served by verification. 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, your account must be notable and active.”

The six types of accounts Twitter identified to start are:
• Government
• Companies, Brands and Non- Profit Organizations
• News
• Entertainment
• Sports
• Activists, Organizers, and Other Influential Individuals

The company 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. The company said it recognizes that there are many verified accounts on Twitter that should not be. It plans to start by automatically removing badges from accounts that are inactive or have incomplete profiles to help streamline its work and to expand this to include additional types of accounts over the course of 2021.

This initial policy won’t cover every case for being verified — but it is a critical first step in helping us provide more transparency and fairer standards for verification on Twitter as it reprioritizes this work. This version of the policy is a starting point, and the firm intends to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year.

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