If, for whatever reason, you’ve long coveted a blue verification tick for your Twitter account but aren’t considered high-profile enough to warrant one, good news: the company may expand the program to make them available to everyone.
In a Periscope livestream yesterday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that the platform was working on ways of allowing all users to become verified. “The intention is to open verification to everyone,” he said. “And to do it in a way that’s scalable, where [Twitter] is not in the way and people can verify more facts about themselves and we don’t have to be the judge or imply any bias on our part.”
The blue checkmark was originally introduced in 2009 as a way of confirming that famous accounts, such as those of actors and other celebrities, were authentic and not parody/fake profiles. Twitter started allowing anyone to apply for verification in 2016, but it was up to the user to provide the reasons why they needed one, and few ‘regular’ people received the mark. Now, the blue tick is seen as a symbol of credibility, rather than confirmation of identity.
“The main problem is, we use [the checkmark] to mean identity,” said Twitter director of product, David Gasca. “But in user research [...] users think of it as credibility, [that] Twitter stands behind this person and what they’re saying is great and authentic, which is not what we meant.”
If everyone does get verified, it should mean that real users become easily identifiable while unverified trolls and bot accounts stand out more. Exactly how the verification process would work is unclear, though it could involve connecting with Google or Facebook accounts, or providing some form of official ID.
Speaking to The Verge, Dorsey said that both identity and anonymity are important parts of Twitter, and he wants the platform to be a safe space for people to speak their minds. It will probably be a while before all real users get a checkmark, however, as Dorsey said the priority is verification around candidates in the 2020 US election.