Twitter, the American microblogging and social networking site, has suspended its account verification programme, stating that it needs to improve the application and review process for membership in the blue check mark club.
According to The Verge, this change, which prevents new users from applying for verification, comes after Twitter admitted that several fake accounts, which appeared to be part of a botnet, were incorrectly verified.
If you applied for verification recently, there is a chance you will receive it — Twitter Verified has stated that it will continue to review existing applications, so the freeze merely prevents new applicants from applying.
In other words, if you were previously able to apply, Twitter’s lead indicates that you can still do so. Twitter has made no indication that it will alter the criteria it uses to determine whether an account is verifiable or not.
According to a Twitter spokesperson, the company will “resume rolling out applications in the coming weeks.”
This is not the first time Twitter’s verification programme has been paused. It halted the public process in 2017, following backlash over its verification of one of the organisers of the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville.
It reintroduced a revamped version in 2021 and then suspended it after receiving an avalanche of requests.
The start-stop nature of Twitter’s Verified programme demonstrates the difficulties that can arise when issuing a badge that is sometimes interpreted as an endorsement by users.
Twitter stated that the badge’s purpose is to demonstrate that an account is “authentic, notable, and active,” but even those criteria can spark controversy when applicants who are arguably notable are rejected (especially when obviously fake accounts make it through).
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