When it comes to social media profiles few things are as sought after than a verified symbol or checkmark on your profile page.
On Twitter, for example, the indicator meant a number of things. You were a verified account, meaning that you were acknowledged as being the person, or brand, that you are claiming that you are. It also meant you were somewhat an authority on the subject, product, service or branding that you represented.
But Twitter also saw the pitfalls of a verification system. What once was reserved for celebrities, was later bestowed to other high-profile figures and journalists as Twitter continued to expand it’s verification service and with that came some major issues.
Back in November 2017, Twitter had to remove verification badges from two accounts associated with white nationalists, which was a small sliver of the bigger issue of hate groups such as nationalists and Neo-Nazis, started leveraging the benefits of verification to spread hate.
“Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement,” Twitter tweeted about the decision. “We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service, which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.”
“We should’ve communicated faster on this (yesterday). Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted the same week. “And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster.”
Fast forward to today and Twitter is looking to expanding the verification service once again.
“We want to be one of the most trusted services in the world, and we know we have a lot of work to get there” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said
Twitter is working on a new process to verify people’s identity and ensure credibility in an effort to offer its blue-check-mark verification badge to more of its users. Dorsey admitted the platform’s current system is “broken,” partly because in becoming a status symbol, the checkmark began to be seen as a form of endorsement.
“The intention is to open verification to everyone,” Dorsey explained.
Right now, the social media giant is focusing on ensuring that the accounts for candidates in elections are verified amid concerns that Russia propagandists will attempt to influence upcoming midterm elections in the United States.
“We need to inform the American public that this is real,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said, according to CBS News. “That this is going to happen, and the resilience needed for us to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country.’ And I think there needs to be a national cry for that.”
The process of rebuilding the verification system is Twitter’s attempt to rehabilitate their platform, along with it’s reputation, for what many see as playing a host to a toxic culture to hate and misinformation.
The blue Twitter bird will be hard at work.