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Twitter will re-open verifications soon: How is the blue tick awarded?

Why did Twitter stop verifications? What is the new authentication process for verifying users? How does Twitter decide an account is authentic? What does Twitter mean when it says the account must be active?

Written by Shruti Dhapola , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 25, 2021 3:32:16 pm
Twitter stopped verifications on November 16, 2017, stating that the blue badge had caused a perception problem for them.

‘Authentic, notable and active’; these will be the three defining terms for a Twitter account to get the coveted blue badge of verification when the process, on pause since November 2017, will reopen soon. Starting January 22, 2021, Twitter has started de-badging of inactive and incomplete accounts. The verification process is expected to restart soon as well.

But who gets verified, and who doesn’t? We explain below.

Why did Twitter stop verifications?

Twitter stopped verifications on November 16, 2017, stating that the blue badge had caused a perception problem for them. The verification mark was seen as an endorsement of some individuals by Twitter, which was not necessarily the case.

The company wrote back then, “This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.” The company was also planning to review some of the accounts which had gotten verified earlier.

What is the new authentication process for verifying users?

Twitter will have a new self-serve application process, available on the web and in-app once the process formally reopens. Users will be able to apply themselves to get verified. They will have to choose a category for their verification status. They will have to share some links and other supporting materials to boost their cause in order to get the tick.

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Twitter will use “both automated and human review” to handle these applications for verifications. It also said it will give users “the option to share demographic information after completing the new verification application so that we can better measure and improve the equity of our verification process.”

As part of the new policy, Twitter “will begin automatically removing the verified badge from inactive and incomplete accounts,” according to an official statement from the company.

How does Twitter decide an account is authentic?

Twitter says it “uses a mix of internal signals to evaluate the authenticity of a given account’s followers and engagement count.”

It adds, “We also assess a range of signals associated with third-party public resources submitted in support of applications for verification (such as how recently they were updated) to detect fraudulent submissions.”

Further, they still have the right to deny or revoke verification to any accounts, which met the criteria “through artificial or inauthentic activity.”

What does Twitter mean when it says the account must be active?

For an account to be considered active and complete, the user must have a profile name, a profile image. The earlier criteria of the header photo has been done away with.

A user should have logged into the account in the last six months showing active use in order to qualify for verification. The account must also be secure with a confirmed email address or phone number.

Finally, the account must have “not have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules in the past six months.” Any successful appeals are excluded from this consideration.

I’m a regular citizen, not a celebrity or a big TV anchor. Will my account get verified?

Twitter says the account must be notable for it to get verified. If you are an ordinary citizen, it will be hard to get verified, unless you somehow manage to amass a sizable following on the platform. Or are a well-known expert in your field, but there are some criteria there which have to be met.

So which category of users get verified?

Twitter says the account “must represent or otherwise be associated with a prominently recognised individual or brand,” linked to the following fields. They are as listed below

# Those working in the government, including heads of state, elected officials, ministers, etc.

# Well-known companies, brands and organisations

# News organisations and journalists

# Entertainment

# Sports

# Activists, organisers, and other influential individuals.

Twitter told indianexpress.com that it “received a lot of suggestions for adding categories for verification including academics, scientists and religious leaders,” and will “explore adding dedicated categories for these to the policy some time this year.”

For now, it suggests that these individuals may qualify under the “Activists, organisers, and other influential individuals” category.

I’m not associated with any big brand, but I have 100,000 followers. So why does a journalist with 1800 followers get a blue badge?

Journalists working in well-known organisations will likely get the blue tick quickly, even if they don’t always have a big following.

Twitter says “any official accounts of qualifying news organisations, as well individual accounts of journalists employed by qualifying organisations may be verified, if the account is public (does not have protected Tweets).” The organisations and journalists are also expected to stick to professional standards of journalism.

Further independent or freelance journalists qualify if they can “provide at least three bylines/credits in qualifying publications published within the six months prior to applying.”

Why is Twitter verifying influencers?

Twitter does verify accounts of people associated with the field of entertainment and this includes individual accounts of “established digital content creators.” Creators who have been “consistently published engaging, original content” for at least six months prior to applying will qualify for verification.

And where they create and post their content is not relevant for qualifications. So a prominent Instagram influencer can easily get verified on Twitter.

What about esports players?

The sports and gaming criteria does not just apply to professional athletes and coaches on official teams, but includes professional “esports leagues, teams, rostered players, and coaches listed on the official team website.”

Esports players participate in international competitions, where big video game titles are played at a professional level. Esports players who have “three or more featured references within the six months prior to applying in news outlets such as Kotaku, Polygon, or IGN may be verified,” add the criteria.

Regular athletes participating in global competitions such as the Olympics and Paralympics are also eligible for verification.

I’m a really influential individual. How do I get verified?

Twitter does verify individuals who are considered influential but it has some criteria, which have to be met.

“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,” may be verified, according to the policy.

But these people need to show a consistent usage of Twitter, at least six months prior to applying. They also need to abide by Twitter rules, cannot post content that harasses, shames, is abusive or content that mocks people with disabilities, or different gender and sexual orientation, etc.

Further, they need to meet the following criteria for notability: at least one from Column A and one from Column B:

Column A: Twitter Activity

Column B: Off Twitter Notability

Follower count in the top .1% of active accounts located in the same geographic region

A profile on Google Trends with evidence of recent search activity;

In the top .05% of active accounts located in the same geographic region in terms of volume of conversation about them, based on mentions, rate of Follower growth, or other internal signals.

A stable Wikipedia article about them that meets the encyclopedia’s notability standards for people;

Widely credited for creating a hashtag movement that is capturing a large volume of conversation within a given community.

3 or more featured references within the 6 months prior to applying in news outlets that meet the News criteria above; including specialty publications related to their profession or expertise; or

Reference to the account or the account holder’s name indicating a leadership position on an official site associated with known advocacy work.

Twitter says in response to current events it may “verify accounts meeting only criteria from Column B due to their expertise or public role in matters of high public interest”.

Examples listed by Twitter include “medical professionals during epidemics or other 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”.

I have a parody account with 10 million followers? Can I get verified?

No. Parody, newsfeed, commentary and fan accounts are not eligible for the blue badge

My dog’s account has 10 million Twitter followers. Why can’t he get a blue badge?

Twitter does not verify pet accounts. However, pet accounts “directly affiliated with a verified Company, Brand, or Organisation, or with a verified entertainment production,” could get the blue badge.

Who else doesn’t qualify?

Anyone violating Twitter’s policies with “platform manipulation and spam, engaging in buying and selling followers,” does not qualify.

Further those “found to have committed gross human rights violations by an international court/tribunal, or a fact-finding mission or commission of inquiry authorized by an international organization,” may be ineligible for verification even if they have millions of followers.

I lost my verified status. What happened?

Yes that can happen, especially if your account has been inactive. Twitter may remove the blue verified badge at any time and without notice.

If you change the handle name, the blue badge will disappear. Further “if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for,” the blue badge could disappear.

Twitter also warns that those who violate policies continuously will face action and could lose the blue badge. But removal of the badge “based on repeated violations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and is not automatic,” according to the policy.

In an email response, Twitter said it may “remove the blue badge from accounts that are found to be in severe or repeated violation of the Twitter Rules.”

“This includes Impersonation or intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing your display name or bio, violations that result in immediate account suspension, and repeat violations in Tweets that include but are not limited to: Hateful conduct, Abusive behavior, Glorification of violence, Platform manipulation and spamming, posting other people’s private information without their express authorization and permission and/or using Twitter for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes,” the company added.

However, it clarified that if someone’s account is at risk of losing its verified badge, they will get an automated email and an in-app notification informing them of what changes are needed to be made to avoid automatic removal of their blue verified badge.

“As long as they made those changes before January 22, 2021, their account will not lose its badge,” it said.

Further “it does not plan to automatically remove the verified badge from inactive accounts of people who are no longer living.” Twitter is working on building a way to memorialise these accounts in 2021.

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