KEY POINTS

  • Twitter is bringing back the "request verification" feature, which it suspended in 2017
  • Every Twitter user will be able to  request verification of his/her account
  • The guidelines for verification of accounts will be made publicly available

Twitter’s policy of providing the 'blue tick' verification to its users has been criticized for long. Many accounts with a larger followings have not been verified, while those with much fewer followers have been verified. Worse, many verified handles have been caught tweeting fake news. And many official handles remain unverified.

It seems that this is about to change — finally. Twitter has been working on a new feature, which will let users request verification. App researcher Jane Manchun Wong posted screenshots of the feature on Twitter.

She posted that she was neither a “Twitter employee nor tech support,” but that she dug up the feature — which was not refuted by Twitter’s official handle. The images posted by Wong show a “request verification” feature in the personal information section of the app’s account settings.

The feature was available until 2017 when Twitter revoked it because many accounts belonging to white supremacists and Nazis were found to be verified. There has been no systematic policy on verification of accounts since then. And verification of accounts, it seems, has been arbitrary.

It seems Twitter is now changing tack and will introduce guidelines for verification of accounts, according to TechCrunch. Before 2017, verification of accounts happened according to Twitter’s internal guidelines, but now they will be publicly and specifically documented.

Twitter is yet to reveal when the feature will go live and when the text of the guidelines will be available.

The company has been criticized for the arbitrariness in its functioning, whether it is verification or even suspension of accounts. While Twitter has not made its moderation system public, CEO Jack Dorsey has called the system “broken” in the past.

The social network has been receiving heat from the Trump administration over such issues and found itself in the center of a controversy when it labeled a tweet by President Trump on the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests as” glorifying violence.” Twitter also fact-checked Trump’s tweet claiming voter fraud would increase if absentee voting was expanded.

Trump has signed an executive order, which will allow the U.S. government to punish social media platforms for the moderation of content. 

Twitter logo A photo taken in Vertou, western France shows logos of U.S. online news and social networking service Twitter. Photo: LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images