Twitter has opened its verification process to all users of the social media platform, allowing anybody to get a blue check mark on their account.
Previously, Twitter only accepted applications for a verified status from accounts that are of public interest, including those maintained by celebrities, public figures, brands and organizations. Seeing a blue check mark means that the account is authentic, with its tweets directly coming from the individual or the company that claims to own it.
Twitter has now created an online application process that any user on the social media platform can go through to gain verified status.
"We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification," said Twitter Vice President of User Services Tina Bhatnagar. She added that the company is hoping the new process will allow users to find more high-quality Twitter accounts to follow and will allow more influencers and creators to reach out to a wider audience.
On the support page detailing how users can apply for a verified account, it is shown that users should have complete information on their account, including a verified phone number and a confirmed email address. Users have to fill out this form to apply for verification, with Twitter possibly sending back a request for a copy of a government-issued ID to confirm the user's identity.
The question, however, is why should regular users go the extra mile of having their accounts verified?
Twitter accounts with verified status are regarded by users as a sign that the information coming from that account is authentic. This is important because Twitter, unlike other social media platforms, does not require its users to sign up using their real names. Due to the less strict requirements of creating accounts, many fake accounts can be found on Twitter, with some made as funny references, some to masquerade celebrities and, worse, some to serve as a pseudonym to dish out online abuse.
Users who have received the blue check mark on their accounts are provided with stricter privacy tools, along with more filtering tools to weed out spam and hateful tweets by other users on the platform.
Twitter did not openly state that gaining verified status was its way of expanding the number of users who can gain access to the anti-abuse tools of the platform. However, it could very well be an underlying agenda, given the recent return to the spotlight of the issue due to the sexist and racist tweets directed at comedian and Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones.