Twitter is developing a new in-app verification system. This was announced by reverse engineer Jane Wong and later confirmed by Twitter.
An added ‘request verification’ option will now be available in the redesigned settings screen. According to Twitter, the feature is yet to be launched to the public.
Apart from an edit button, the verification system is one of Twitter’s most requested features.
Twitter had an adhoc verification system prior to 2017 which unfortunately, ended in consumer confusion globally. The company used the system as a confirmation that someone who was perceived as a high profile personality, was indeed who they claimed to be.
However, the system was perceived as one that verified people who Twitter perceived to be “noteworthy figures”. It looked like a badge of honour and ended up with unfavourable results.
In 2017, critics noted that Twitter had verified an account belonging to Jason Kessler, an organizer of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. in August that left one person dead.
Twitter tried explaining that they award the verification badges to people of ‘public interest’ but it was argued that a known white supremacist is not a candidate for verification, especially with so many noteworthy figures still unverified.
Twitter then said they would pause the system as they figured out how to fix it. The form that users could fill out to make their request for a verification badge was also pulled down as the company worked to rethink the process.
Through 2018, verifications did not stop, but slowed down considerably as Twitter announced that they were focusing their attention on election integrity. Twitter verified various candidates in the poll and recently, verified health experts who have been instrumental in giving out credible information about the Corona virus pandemic.
Twitter is now bringing back the option allowing users to request for a verification badge. This time around, Twitter plans to publicly document the qualifications one should have to be verified. They have however not confirmed on when the feature will go live, or what guidelines will be required when they become available.
Twitter has often faced some backlash on how its rules are imposed, for example when they have to delete an account or tweets that contravene their terms of service. Guidelines on how to request for a verification badge will not put an end to its criticism, but it could give Twitter a base from which to work through the verification process.