Twitter announced it is relaunching it’s Verified Accounts program. Account verification features blue badges that are intended to signal the authenticity of the Twitter member.
The relaunch will happen in 2021 but with many changes.
Why Twitter Verification Was Paused
Twitter paused its verification program in 2017 because of confusion over what the program was about.
A top concern was that the verification signaled Twitter’s endorsement of the member. This perception of endorsement became worse as the program rolled out to the general public, at which point Twitter pulled the plug on the verification program.
Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2017
Twitter’s pause announcement:
UPDATE on our verification program and the actions we’re taking.
Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception.
We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.
This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.”
After the pause in verification of Twitter members was announced Twitter carried out a purge of verification status of accounts that were deemed to be in violation of Twitter’s verification guidelines.
Twitter Solicited Feedback on Verification Program
In late November Twitter announced that they were asking for feedback on the verification program.
Among the suggested changes outlined in the proposals was how to define “notable accounts” and to carry out a new purge of verified accounts that were inactive or have incomplete profiles.
Twitter Verification Program Relaunch Changes
Twitter has updated their verification policy.
Key changes to the verification process include:
- Loosened the policy that outlines what it means to have a complete profile. Twitter no longer requires a profile bio or a header image.
- Updated references to Wikipedia definition of notability and added a stable Wikipedia article as one of the several requirements for being recognized as notable.
- Updated the News category to also recognize journalists
- Updated the Sports category to recognize eSports
- Added digital content creators to the Entertainment category
Future Changes to Twitter Verification
Twitter noted they are still exploring adding categories for academics, scientists and religious leaders.
The announcement encouraged Twitter members under an alternate category:
“Until then, any of these individuals may qualify under the “Activists, organizers, and other influential individuals” category.”
Enforcement of New Verification Policy
Twitter stated that enforcement of the new policy will begin in January 20, 2021.
Accounts at risk of losing their verified badge will receive a warning email explaining the reasons why they are at risk.
Twitter members who update their accounts before January 20, 2021 will not lose their badge.
According to Twitter:
“Our new policy defines a complete account as one that has all of the following:
- either a verified email address or phone number
- a profile image
- a display name”
Other accounts scheduled to lose their verification badge are those who are in violation of the Twitter Rules.
Twitter noted that the verification program is meant to help members understand who they are interacting with. The badge is meant to communicate a sense of authenticity and building trust in the conversations on Twitter.
New Kinds of Accounts
Twitter also announced plans to create a new account type that will identify accounts that are bots. This will happen at an unspecified date in 2021.
Twitter also announced they will be rolling out Memorial Accounts for people who have passed away. This will allow for the creation of a memorial Twitter account that is verified through an application process.
Building Trust and Community
Twitter’s new plans for verification and labeling bot accounts is designed to build trust in user accounts. These new policies may help Twitter create a better experience, which should be good for members, advertisers and other marketers.