Twitter’s verification system has been a massive failure in just about every way possible. Twitter ended public applications for the infamous verified symbol three years ago, after the company couldn’t figure out if verification should be an endorsement or not. Now the company is gearing up for a new public application process, aimed to begin in 2021.
In the Before Times™, anyone could apply to have a verified icon added to their profile after submitting some documentation (e.g., a valid driver’s license).
Ever since applications for verification ended, the indicator has largely only been given to politicians, celebrities, brands, or other people with close connections to someone at Twitter — effectively turning it into a status symbol, rather than the original meaning of “this person is who they say they are.”
The blue checkmark has also become a meme in itself, with verified users sometimes referred to as “checkmarks” in a derogatory sense (usually after they make a stupid post).
Twitter says it will launch a new public application process in 2021, but the company doesn’t seem to have learned from its past mistakes.
Accounts will have to be “notable and active,” and the company is primarily focused on people in government, brands, news, entertainment, sports, and activists.
Twitter is also sticking to its rules about removing checkmarks from people who repeatedly violate the site’s rules, which again treats the symbol as a prestigious possession, rather than its intended purpose.
“We know we can’t solve verification with a new policy alone,” Twitter said in a blog post, “but it is a critical first step in helping us provide more transparency and fairer standards for verification on Twitter as we reprioritize this work.
This version of the policy is a starting point, and we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year.”