Three years ago, Twitter paused their public verification program after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people. A year later, they deprioritized this work further to focus on protecting the integrity of the public conversation around critical moments like the 2020 US election. Since then, they haven’t been clear about who can become verified and when, why an account might be unverified, or what it means to be verified. 

Twitter acknowledges how important it is to be able to express yourself and understand who you’re talking to on the platform. So today, they are sharing the start of their plans to revamp how people can identify themselves on Twitter, starting with verification and asking the public to share feedback on a draft of our new verification policy. Calling for public feedback has become an important part of our policy development process because we want to ensure that, as an open service, our rules reflect the voices of the people who use Twitter. 

Building our verification policy 

Twitter plans to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021. But first, they need to update our verification policy with your help. This policy will lay the foundation for future improvements by defining what verification means, who is eligible for verification and why some accounts might lose verification to ensure the process is more equitable. 

Twitter is starting by more clearly defining some of the core types of Notable Accounts that are served by verification. Per the proposed policy, “the blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be notable and active.” 

The six types of accounts:

1. Government 
2. Companies, Brands and Non- Profit Organizations 
3. News 
4. Entertainment 
5. Sports 
6. Activists, Organizers, and Other Influential Individuals 

You can find more detailed definitions of the criteria above in the draft policy

Twitter also added proposed criteria to automatically remove verification from an account if, for example, it's inactive or if the profile is incomplete, as well as grounds to deny or remove verification from certain qualified accounts that are found to be in repeated violation of the Twitter Rules. Twitter recognize that there are many verified accounts on Twitter who should not be. They plan to start by automatically removing badges from accounts that are inactive or have incomplete profiles to help streamline our work and to expand this to include additional types of accounts over the course of 2021. 

Twitter knows they can’t solve verification with a new policy alone -- and that this initial policy won’t cover every case for being verified -- but it is a critical first step in helping us provide more transparency and fairer standards for verification on Twitter as we reprioritize this work. This version of the policy is a starting point, and we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year. 

Twitter want to hear from you.  A brief survey on the draft verification policy, which is available in English, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese can be found HERE. They are also working with local non-governmental organizations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible. 

If you prefer to Tweet your feedback, you can use the hashtag #VerificationFeedback. 

The public feedback period starts on November 24, 2020 until December 8, 2020. At that point, they'll review public feedback on this policy and train their teams on this new approach. The goal is to introduce the final policy on December 17, 2020. 

Twitter is committed to serving the public conversation by helping people find credible information, hear important voices, and trust the authenticity of the accounts people find on Twitter. 

What’s next? 

Being able to express yourself is core to the public conversation, and who you talk to is as important as what they’re saying. Twitter  wants to make space for everyone to express their authentic voices by giving people more ways to identify themselves in their Profiles. The blue verified badge and account labels are two of the ways we help distinguish notable, authentic accounts on Twitter. This year, they’ve verified medical experts Tweeting about #COVID19 and added account labels to identify candidates running for office. 

But the blue verified badge isn’t the only way we are planning to distinguish accounts on Twitter. Heading into 2021, they’re committed to giving people more ways to identify themselves through their profiles, such as new account types and labels. More updates will be shared in the coming weeks. This is just the beginning of what twitter have planned for 2021.