Twitter Hits Another Hiccup with Public Requests for Verification, Pauses Roll-Out of New Process
It looks like the sometimes difficult verification application process of Twitter is once again suffering, as the platform pauses the present expansion of access to its new and better verification tool to polish mechanisms currently in place.
We’ve temporarily hit pause on rolling out access to apply for Verification so we can make improvements to the application and review process.
For those who have been waiting, we know this may be disappointing. We want to get things right, and appreciate your patience.
— Twitter Verified (@verified) August 13, 2021
Twitter Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour later provided a clarification as to what this actually means, noting that anyone who currently has access to the application process will not lose it, nor will applications be paused, as such.
to clarify, we haven’t paused applications. we’ve been gradually rolling out *access to* the application (it’s not at 100% yet) and that roll-out is paused until we can better handle the scale. for those it’s been rolled out to, we’re still accepting and processing applications.
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) August 14, 2021
So it is not the same as Twitter’s entire suspension in May – one week after its reopening, following a four-year stop. However, this is another indication of the work on internal evaluation and approval procedures for Twitter, which were always troublesome and left many puzzled about what the blue tick on Twitter truly signifies, and the weight that some people appear to be placing on it.
As noted, Twitter initially paused public requests for profile verification back in 2017 after questions were raised as to how a prominent white supremacist, among other questionable identities, had been granted Twitter’s prestigious checkmark. That forced Twitter to reassess its entire process, which it admitted at the time had been confused, both internally and externally, as to what the profile badge actually meant.
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
After that time, Twitter continued to check for chosen persons, but public queries were shut off while Twitter tried to rectify its faulty system.
In November last year, Twitter announced the re-launch of public audit apps in 2021 that offered optimism to the many online fans who tried to highlight their relevance and position. Twitter also released tighter, more precise criteria for verification that aimed to explain the meaning of the identification. And while these new restrictions are a great move, they did not allow Twitter to clarify mistakes from the past, so anybody that has been verified incorrectly or does not truly fulfill these new conditions may still maintain his blue tick.
This still means that there is a degree of uncertainty, but Twitter has improved the procedure, strengthened its processes, and reopened public requests for verification, after four years in May.
Then a week later it shut them down.
We’re rolling in verification requests. So we gotta hit pause on accepting any more for now while we review the ones that have been submitted.
We’ll reopen requests soon! (we pinky swear)
— Twitter Verified (@verified) May 28, 2021
To its credit, that pause only lasted three days, and was largely overblown by media outlets keen to highlight Twitter’s questionable record on such.
But then again, Twitter’s record here is questionable, and has remained problematic.
Back in July, web researcher Conspirador Norteño identified a range of bot accounts, each created less than a month prior, that had been approved for Twitter verification, somehow making their way through the platform’s more rigorous, updated assessment process.
Twitter recognized and terminated the accounts for the mistake. However, the example also gave a further insight into how this error might arise and how the new Twitter algorithm could still erroneously endorse the wrong profiles.
The difficulty, it appears, is that the verifying process of Twitter is now mostly automated and only people intervene in the last phases. If spammers can find out what the system is searching for, they are likely to pass through fake identities and receive approval without the profiles fulfilling the new standards.
You hope Twitter changed its systems as a consequence – and perhaps this is the purpose of the new break. However, the platform’s history of checking the correct accounts, according to whatever criteria you specify, is not excellent.
Can we be sure Twitter gets it right now?
And does it really matter, in fact, at the end?
Certainly, the Blue checkmark provides additional support and authority in certain ways, which offers a level of confidence in what the account shares. For example, if you receive public health advice from a blue checkmark account, you are more certain that such information is right – and the badge is important and worthwhile in this regard in the Twitter experience.
But given the different approach modifications, there are plenty of accounts on Twitter not to have the blue tick and, in particular, many people that you should probably not listen to.
Does it make a genuine difference whether or not your account is verified?
With regard to functional benefits, verified accounts have access, to optimize their commitment to other leading users, to particular warnings pertaining to other verified profiles. But there is no major change beyond that in how you utilize the platform.
In terms of tweet reach, it stands to reason that verified accounts would see some boost in awareness, with Twitter likely highlighting such tweets more specifically in topic listings, and other recommendations. But Twitter doesn’t outline this specifically, only noting that:
“The blue label is one of the ways in which we enable consumers to recognize the legitimacy of high interest accounts. It offers users on Twitter more information about who they talk to so that they can evaluate if it is trustworthy, which has been demonstrated by our studies to lead to healthyer, more educated discussions.”
You would assume that the route Twitter wants to go is a better, more educated dialogue, so it would therefore be more reasonable to emphasize tweets from verified reports. But how important the real advantage can be is difficult to estimate.
So verification really does make a big impact again?
Probably not, I mean. If you are using Twitter to engage with your audience, whether or not you’re verified, and while it might give your profile an added degree of presence and confidence, it probably doesn’t alter anything in terms of function.
In other words, the influence on your workflow of the often complex verification procedure on Twitter is probably little because no one really knows what the checkmark represents anyhow.
Well, of course, but an important part of your twitter strategy? Perhaps not.
In any event, if you’re in a location where public requests aren’t yet implemented, you won’t get the opportunity to apply anyhow until Twitter re-evaluates its present process failures.
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