Twitter's verification badge process put on hold to focus on election integrity

As elections are approaching in US, updating the verification program isn’t Twitter's top priority.

Twitter's product lead Keyvon Beykpour announced on 18 July that Twitter is currently not working on its verification process which provides user accounts with a blue checkmark. As the mid-term elections in the United States are approaching in November, Twitter says that updating their "verification program isn’t a top priority" at the moment and election integrity is.

In November 2017, Twitter had paused public verification because it said that it wanted to address the issue "that verifying the authenticity of an account was being conflated with an endorsement." Twitter paused the process because it aimed to achieve a fix across policy, enforcement and product.

Representational Image

Representational Image

In an earlier tweet from 9 November 2017, it was explained that the verification process was meant to authenticate identity but was falsely also being interpreted as a means of endorsement. Twitter agreed that they had created this confusion and also needed to resolve it. They then paused all general verifications at that time.

Despite all the effort in the past, Twitter still verifies accounts "ad hoc" when they "think it serves the public conversation" and is also in line with their policies.

Beykpour, further in his tweet thread, says that "this has led to frustration because our process remains opaque and inconsistent with our intended pause," and confesses that this process is far from ideal and that they continue to intend to fix it.

In an email sent by Beykpour to Twitter's Health leadership team last week, he told the team that in his opinion it was best to pause the blue-check process because they simply did not have the "bandwidth to address this holistically."

"We’re already doing way too many things, and focusing on this now will slow us down and lessen the quality of more important areas like elections integrity,” said Beykpour.

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