Twitter Reveals Plans to Bring Back Verification Applications in Early 2021

The social network is seeking input from users and nongovernmental organizations

Twitter reserved the right to remove the blue verified badge and verified status of accounts at any time and without notice Onurdongel/iStock

Twitter is getting back into the verification game, at least officially, starting early next year.

The social network halted its verification application process in March 2018, with CEO Jack Dorsey saying during a livestream at the time, “We believe verification is something that is very broken on this platform and something that we need to fix and that we need a much more cohesive view on.”

Product lead Kayvon Beykpour said in a series of tweets in July 2018 that verification was being put on the back burner as Twitter focused its energy on protecting the integrity of the midterm elections in the U.S. that November.

Twitter did not halt verification entirely, but there has been no formal process. The social network has verified accounts belonging to celebrities, members of the media and organizations, but it has not been accepting applications.

Developer and blogger Jane Manchun Wong discovered a “Request Verification” feature in Twitter’s settings in June. The social network confirmed that it was testing the feature, but did not provide any further details at the time.

Twitter revealed plans Tuesday to bring back a public application process for verification early next year, sharing a draft of the policies it plans to implement and seeking input from users on those policies.

The social network provided details on the six core types of accounts that the process will begin with.

  • Government: This category covers the accounts of key government officials and offices, including heads of state, elected officials, appointed ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors and official spokespeople. Official candidates for state- or national-level public office may qualify in certain countries, as well. There must be either a public reference to the account on an official government or party site, or multiple references to the account in news media. Twitter may also reach out directly to independently confirm whether the account qualifies. Verification may also be applied to official accounts of public utilities and other services, as well as people in leadership positions and official spokespeople.
  • Companies, brands and nonprofit organizations: This category covers accounts representing prominent organizations and secondary affiliated accounts, including companies, brands, nonprofit organizations, their leaders and other prominent executives. Accounts must meet two of these requirements: a presence in public indices, such as Google Trends, public stock exchanges, Wikipedia (including multiple references to unaffiliated external sources), or databases such as Charity Navigator; three or more featured references in the six months prior to applying n news outlets that meet the criteria below for the news category; or a follower count in the top 1% of active accounts located in the same country.
  • News: This category covers accounts representing qualifying news organizations (defined below) and individual accounts of journalists employed by qualifying organizations. The accounts of the latter must be public and refer directly to the organization’s name and official URL. Qualifying organizations include newspapers; magazines; broadcast, cable, satellite and streaming TV and radio news networks, stations and programs; digital news publishers; podcasts; and similar media, and they must adhere to recognized professional standards for journalism such as those of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Independent Press Standards Organization or the International Federation of Journalists, or have committed to the International Fact-Checking Network‘s code of principles. Independent or freelance journalists may qualify if they provide at least three bylines or credits in qualifying publications published within the six months prior to applying.
  • Entertainment: This category covers accounts representing manor entertainment companies, such as film studios, television networks and music entities. Official accounts of productions associated with these entities may qualify—such as films, events, festivals and TV shows—if their connections to those organizations are clear on the account profile and other associated websites or official public sources. The individual accounts of artists, performers, directors and others in similar public-facing roles associated with such entities or their productions may be verified if the website associated with that entity or a similar official public source contains a link to the profile, and if they have five production credits on their IMBD profile or at least three featured references within the six months prior to applying in news outlets that meet the news criteria above. Twitter may also independently confirm whether the account qualifies.
  • Sports: This category covers accounts representing professional sports leagues, teams, rostered athletes and coaches listed on official team websites or in sports data services such as Sportradar, as well as athletes participating in global competitions such as the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Twitter said the official team pages of club and collegiate teams may also be verified, but it will not verify amateur athletes who compete at the collegiate level (or lower) or in official minor leagues unless they meet the criteria for influential individuals (detailed below).
  • Activists, organizers and other influential individuals: This category covers accounts representing “people who are using Twitter effectively to bring awareness, share information and galvanize community members around a cause; to bring about socioeconomic, political or cultural change; or to otherwise foster community.” In order to qualify, account holders must: demonstrate consistent usage of Twitter in the six months prior; abide by the Twitter Rules; refrain from posting content that harasses, shames or insults individuals or groups (especially based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, medical/genetic condition, status as a veteran, status as a refugee or status as an immigrant) or promotes the supremacy or interests of members of any group in a manner likely to be perceived as demeaning; and meets at least one choice from column A and one from column B in the chart below. Twitter said it may verify accounts that only meet criteria from column B in cases such as medical professionals during public health crises; activists and local political leaders in times of protest or in connection with a significant cultural event; public safety and journalist accounts reporting on natural disasters; or organizers, proponents or founders of campaigns in support of civil or human rights.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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