This week Twitter announced the roll out of a new policy allowing public users to apply for verification. Feedback from users played a pivotal role in the decision which Twitter hails as ‘the next milestone in our plans to give more transparency, credibility and clarity to verification on Twitter’.
What did users say?
During a public feedback period last year, Twitter received 22,000 responses from users all over the globe. Users were keen to share their thoughts on how Twitter could improve their policies, and the social media giant was quick to listen. Here is some of their feedback:
- Twitter users claimed that they felt too restricted by the criteria needed for a profile to be considered ‘complete’. Twitter has now updated their requirements so that users no longer need a profile bio or header image.
- Users felt the some of the categories needed better clarification. Twitter has now expanded the ‘News’ category to include ‘News and Journalists’ and the ‘Sports’ category to include ‘Sports and eSports’.
- Users didn’t feel that measuring the minimum follower count requirement by country was the right approach. This is now measured on a per-region basis which Twitter claims will make follower count less open to manipulation.
- Many users suggested Twitter add categories for verification such as academics, scientists and religious leaders – an idea the company say they will be exploring further next year.
What does this mean for Twitter users?
Users can now apply for the coveted blue badge straight from their account settings. The badge is a symbol of authenticity and trust, showing the world their account is worth paying attention to.
The new policy opens the door for accounts which previously would not have been eligible for verification. Currently, only 360,000 accounts out of 192million are verified – that’s less than 2%, making it a very exclusive club.
Perhaps not for long, though, as millions of companies, brands news outlets, journalists, entertainment providers, activists, and other influential individuals are expected to apply. Will this make for more genuine, meaningful discussions between accounts who wouldn’t otherwise have had a seat at the table? Or will it leave the policy more open to exploitation? Twitter maintains their goal is to give users more ways to express themselves and ‘lead to more informed healthier conversations’ – in world where fake news and online abuse are rife, surely this can only be a good thing?
While the new verification policy goes some way to better representing accounts which are genuine, Twitter has plans to introduce more verification categories in response to public feedback. They have also expressed their commitment to expanding the ways people can express themselves, with changes planned to profiles and new account types.
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