In November, Twitter officially confirmed it would be bringing back its account verification process in early 2021 and shared a policy draft. Now the company has shared all of the fine details on how the relaunched system will work along with how user feedback shaped the new Twitter verification program that’s arriving in January 2021.
Twitter shared a draft of the new verification program policy last month and asked for feedback from the community. Now the social media service has finalized how the revived verification program will work. Twitter detailed all the specifics, with input from 22,000 user surveys, in a blog post today.
First, here’s how that input changed things:
Here are some of the areas we’ve updated in our new verification policy based on your feedback:
- We heard feedback that some of the criteria for a profile to be considered “complete” feels too restrictive, so we updated our definition to no longer require a profile bio or header image.
- We updated our references to Wikipedia to better align with the encyclopedias’ published standards for notability and article quality.
- We’ve clarified the titles of the “News” category to include “News and Journalists” and the “Sports” category to include “Sports and esports” to be more inclusive. We also added a reference in our “Entertainment” category to more clearly include digital content creators.
- We heard feedback that measuring the minimum follower count requirement on a per-country basis wasn’t always the right approach, so we’ve updated this to be on a per-region basis to make our follower count requirements less susceptible to spam and more equitable across geographies.
Twitter says the new system will go into effect on January 20, 2021:
We’ll begin enforcing this policy on January 20, 2021, which is also when we’ll begin automatically removing the verified badge from inactive and incomplete accounts. Our new policy defines a complete account as one that has all of the following:
- either a verified email address or phone number
- a profile image
- a display name
To start, there will be six types of accounts eligible for verification: government officials, brands/nonprofits, news, entertainment, sports, and activists/other influential individuals.
However, Twitter is looking to expand that list and notes some may fit in the activists/other category to possible approval:
Many of you suggested we add categories for verification including academics, scientists and religious leaders, and we plan to explore adding dedicated categories for these to the policy some time next year. Until then, any of these individuals may qualify under the “Activists, organizers, and other influential individuals” category. For example, since March 2020, we have been working with global public health authorities to identify experts Tweeting about COVID-19 and have already verified hundreds of accounts as a part of this collaboration. These verifications will not be impacted by the new policy given the ongoing commitment to elevating credible information as it relates to the current public health crisis.
Twitter also detailed how it will go about taking away verification badges:
If your account is at risk of losing its verified badge, you’ll receive an automated email and an in-app notification informing you of what changes need to avoid automatic removal of your blue verified badge. As long as you make those changes before January 20, 2021, your account will not lose its badge. We are not planning to automatically remove the verified badge from inactive accounts of people who are no longer living, and are working on building a way to memorialize these accounts in 2021.
Under our policy, we may also remove verification from accounts that are found to be in severe or repeated violation of the Twitter Rules. We will continue to evaluate such accounts on a case-by-case basis, and will make improvements in 2021 on the relationship between enforcement of our rules and verification. As always, everyone on Twitter is subject to the Twitter Rules, and you can read more about our range of enforcement actions here.
Come January 20, you’ll be able to access the verification application in the Twitter app and on the web.
We are excited to relaunch public applications for verification in 2021 through a new, self-serve application process that will be available on the Account Settings page on the web and in-app. The process will include asking applicants to select a category for their verified status and confirming their identity via links and other supporting materials.
We plan to use both automated and human review processes to ensure that we are reviewing applications thoughtfully and in a timely manner. We also plan to give people the option to share demographic information after completing the new verification application so that we can better measure and improve the equity of our verification process. We’ll share more details about the application process soon.
More changes are coming to improve bot accounts, memorialized accounts, and more.
For now, you can read more about the new Twitter verification program here.