Twitter has acknowledged that its verification system is a mess, and has proposed a solution: verify everyone.
Verification was originally intended to help identify accounts belonging to celebrities and other public figures who risk being impersonated. However, the blue checkmark carries a certain prestige, and became seen as a sign that Twitter endorsed the account-holder’s tweets – no matter how unsavory – and the site suspended the program after a series of scandals.
Blue ticks for all
The old verification system was a fairly opaque business. Anyone could apply via a web form (provided they could give a reason and cite some examples of their own importance), but applicants’ worthiness was judged behind closed doors.
In a Periscope livestream about the ‘health’ of Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey said he wanted to reinstate and open up the process.
“The intention is to open verification to everyone,” he said, “and to do it in a way that is scalable [so] we’re not in the way and people can verify more facts about themselves and we don’t have to be the judge and imply any bias on our part.”
How to fix Twitter
Last week, Dorsey admitted Twitter has a serious problem with harassment, hate speech, bots and general trolling, and asked for users’ help to find a solution.
“While working to fix it, we’ve been accused of apathy, censorship, political bias, and optimizing for our business and share price instead of the concerns of society. This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be,” he said in a thread on his account.
He wants to start by finding out just how bad the problem is, and has opened the door for suggestions of ways to measure the ‘health’ of conversations on Twitter.
The site has already taken action against bots by cracking down on third-party apps that let users automate tweets to multiple accounts simultaneously.