Twitter seeks public help as Blue Badges return in early 2021

Twitter, which paused its public verification process or that elusive Blue Badge three years ago, on Tuesday announced to relaunch verification, including a new public application process, in early 2021.

Before it reopens the verification process that saw its share of controversies in the past couple of years, the micro-blogging platform is asking the public to share feedback on a draft of its 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,” the company said in a statement.

“If you prefer to Tweet your feedback, we’ll be listening there, too. Use the hashtag #VerificationFeedback. The public feedback period starts today, November 24, and continues until December 8,” Twitter informed.

Twitter aims to introduce the final policy on December 17.

Three years ago, the platform paused the public verification programme after hearing feedback that it felt arbitrary and confusing to many people.

A year later, the company deprioritised this work further to focus on protecting the integrity of the public conversation around critical moments like the 2020 US election.

“Since then, we 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 admitted.

Now, the company has identified six types of accounts in its draft policy as Notable Accounts — government; companies, brands and non-profit organisations; news; entertainment; sports and activists/organisers and other influential individuals.

According to 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.”

Twitter admitted that there are many verified accounts on its platform that should not be there.

“We 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”.

The new verification policy is a starting point, and “we intend to expand the categories and criteria for verification significantly over the next year”.

The draft verification policy is available in English, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.

“We are also working with local non-governmental organisations and our Trust and Safety Council to ensure as many perspectives are represented as possible,” Twitter said.