Is it just me, or everybody feels a little pang of jealousy when you see the little blue tick next to a name on Twitter? Don’t you always secretly wish your account has it too? Well, working like a genie, Twitter is prepared to grant your wish. Twitter has now announced that now absolutely all of its users can apply for verification of their accounts, and if they fulfill the criteria for verification, the blue tick will be granted. Also Read - You can now share tweets as Instagram Stories: Here's how to do so with these simple steps
A blue tick badge next to a Twitter profile name is an indicator of a verified account and acts as a seal of authenticity on the social network. The feature has already started to roll out and by the end of this week, it will be available globally. Needless to say, there are certain prerequisites to the approval of an account verification application. Any account that Twitter thinks is of public interest, be it in the field of music, television, fashion, religion, politics or anything, will be taken into consideration for verification. Also Read - Explained: Can Twitter get banned in India?
On its support page, Twitter has listed down the rules to following before filling up a form. After users have all their details updated on their Twitter profiles (their bio, personal details, photos), much like a college application, the form asks users a set of questions as to why their accounts should be verified and how they can prove worthy of the blue verified badge. Also Read - Twitter vs government: Twitter India loses legal protection for not complying with IT rules on time
It is important to point out that Twitter’s move to open the account verification to all is quite sudden and unclear. Presently, Twitter has about 310 million monthly active users, and with this increasing number of users on the micro-blogging platform, cases of online bullying and harassment can also be seen increasing evidently.
Just two days ago, Ghostbuster star and famous comedian Leslie Jones was put through extreme racist commentary and hate speech by bullies online. It went to levels where Jones had to appeal to Twitter to strengthen their guidelines for user safety. It was high time that Twitter addressed the giant elephant in the room.
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 18, 2016
Twitter I understand you got free speech I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let spread like that. You can see on the
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
In response to Jones appeal, a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed, “We rely on people to report this type of behavior to us but we are continuing to invest heavily in improving our tools and enforcement systems to prevent this kind of abuse. We realize we still have a lot of work in front of us before Twitter is where it should be on how we handle these issues.”
Twitter has rolled out quite a few anti-harassment tools for users in the past, but a few of them were only accessible by verified users. Recently, it launched a ‘quality filter’ for verified users that helps block content with threats, offensive language and duplicate content from notifications feed. Twitter also gives verified users a greater control on notifications.
For example, a user with a verified Twitter account could filter their notifications to see prompts only from other verified user. With the extension of the verification application to all, it will be easier for Twitter to sieve out harassers and bullies online and keep its users at a distance from any kind of nuisance.
Nevertheless, the account verification system also raises the doubt if the process will let harassers get their hands on the blue ticks too, but Twitter has that covered. In its support blog, as mentioned earlier, Twitter has made it compulsory to provide personal details, a genuine name and account handle, and a profile picture. All the information put together allows Twitter to filter fake profiles out of the verified pool.