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Twitter’s New Blue Tick Verification

Verification Updated for 2021

If you have a business account on Twitter, you may be pleased to know Twitter’s blue tick verification is back, but this time it comes with a new and improved verification process.

Like the original, Twitter’s blue tick verification is intended to sort genuine Twitter accounts from fakes and imposters but will it work this time? Let’s take a look at Twitter’s blue tick verification update for 2021 in more detail and remind ourselves of what went wrong the first time.

What is Twitter’s Blue Tick Verification?

When it was launched back in 2009, Twitter’s blue checkmark was intended to reassure users that a profile was the genuine account of the famous person or company it said it was.

So if you clicked on an account named @beyonce and it had the blue tick by the profile name, users should have been able to trust that this was the authentic account of Beyonce Knowles.

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At the time, celebrities, brands, and the public were flocking to Twitter in huge numbers, and it was tough to tell star or brand pages from fan or spoof pages.

The original Twitter blue tick verification process was supposed to ensure false accounts were identified as such. If the blue checkmark was present by an account name, people were supposed to be able to assume any Tweets were direct from the source.

But it didn’t work. Twitter’s blue tick is often confused as being an official recommendation from Twitter of a must-see account, or an account where all the information displayed is factually accurate. This is not the case.

Why did Twitter Blue Tick Verification Stop?

Instead of building trust, the blue checkmark became a worthless watermark – anyone could get it.

For the first seven years, Twitter contacted celebrities and brands to check which accounts truly did belong to them. Back in 2009, the brief was to give verification to public figures or brands of public interest. This select group of verified users totalled just under 200,000 accounts of celebrities, politicians and large companies.

Interestingly, industry experts were quick to note that these accounts also benefited from access to anti-harassment tools that would be welcome functions for all users. Yet nothing happened, and complaints against Twitter about trolling, fake accounts, dubious users and fake news have only continued to grow since then.

At the end of 2016, Twitter started to tweet open invitations to their user base of over 300 million users for anyone to apply to have their account verified with a blue tick.

The old Requirements for Blue Tick Verification

Users had to complete a form online with their:

  • phone number
  • email address
  • profile photo
  • reason for needing verified status.

It was also advantageous to have a well-known stage name or a real name as your account name, a recognisable profile photo, a website URL and even a government ID if it related to your industry.

The reason given by Twitter for opening up the blue checkmark to all was that it would open verification to content creators and influencers, promoting better connections and higher quality content.

Industry experts hoped the change would lead to a decline in the number of anonymous accounts frequently used by spammers and trolls.

The floodgates opened, and as you can imagine, the system quickly came to a grinding halt in 2017. If everyone has a blue checkmark – its intended value is lost. Moreover, Twitter users saw accounts with a blue checkmark were seen as having a higher status and official recommendation from Twitter, meaning more clicks and traffic for verified users.

Things came to a head when there was a massive outcry after Twitter gave a blue tick to Jason Kessler, a white supremacist. Kessler was a far-right leader who organised the Charlottesville Far-Right Rally in August 2017, where one person died, and more than a dozen people were injured. Kessler’s blue tick was seen as a mark of acceptance and promotion from Twitter.

Admitting there were problems, Twitter took the blue checkmark out of service, promising it would be back once they reviewed the system.

No one thought it would take four years.

New Twitter blue tick verification updated for 2021

How it works

So here we are, four years later, and Twitter blue tick verification is back for 2021. But is the update ready to solve the problems of the past? 

Having a verified account does unquestionably add a level of authority and appeal to your business profile, so how do you get one this time?

For 2021, Twitter has set more explicit guidelines for who can apply for a verified Twitter account, and they’re opening up applications bit by bit so they can manage things better this time.

When it’s your turn, you’ll see the option to apply for verification appear in your account settings.

The new Requirements for Blue Tick Verification

If you want to apply for a blue tick on your Twitter profile, you must have an account that:

  • is: ‘authentic, notable and active”.
  • Has all the personal information filled out?
  • Has been used within the last six months.
  • Has an official work email address or a website that includes your Twitter handle or government ID.
  • falls into one of the following industries:
    • government
    • company, brand or organisation
    • news organisation or journalist
    • entertainment
    • sports and gaming
    • activist, organiser or other influential position.

During the application process, there will be further industry specifications to meet. For example, a journalist must work for a qualifying newspaper. If you don’t fit into one of six existing categories, Twitter has said that they will add more industries in the future.

The application is open to anyone that meets the criteria, but Twitter has made it clear that you shouldn’t assume an application will be accepted. Verification will take at least three days.

If you don’t receive your blue checkmark automatically, it is possible to reapply for verification after 30 days.

Although the more detailed specifications are much better, there’s still room for improvement. 

Trolling and Fake News

Trolling and fake news are huge issues that Twitter still refuses to tackle. Back in 2016, Twitter hoped verification would go some way to address these issues, yet it did the opposite.

With the shadows of Donald Trump and the role social media played in the US events of the latter part of 2020 not far out of sight, one can’t help but think Twitter has failed to address either trolling or fake news for a second time.

There’s no review of those anti-harassment tools industry experts thought was valuable in 2016 or any requirement for fact-checking of information verified accounts display. There are the usual policies to follow, but as always, Twitter’s wooliness means the conditions are neither here nor there. Will they make any difference? We’ll have to see.

One also wonders how many accounts can get a blue checkmark before it becomes meaningless. 

With the 2021 rollout only just beginning, maybe Jack Dorsey and the team have more up their sleeves. Only time will tell. 

Need Help With Your Social Media?

For now, if you want to talk to us about getting your Twitter account verified or how we could help you take your business social media accounts or website to the next level, get in touch today. We deliver a wide range of social media, digital and IT services to small businesses across Ireland and the world. For exponential growth and results that exceed your expectations, call us today at +353 870 976872 / +44 7918 902904 or send us a message.

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