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One of Twitter’s most inconsistently applied features will hopefully make more sense in the near future.
Jane Manchun Wong, who frequently reverse-engineers apps to discover upcoming new features, figured out that Twitter is planning to give users a way to request verification. The social network then confirmed the development to TechCrunch. What this means is that regular folks will be able to ask Twitter to give them a blue checkmark to verify that they are, in fact, themselves.
It’s not totally clear yet how exactly this will work, but Twitter told TechCrunch the plan is to make its still-unknown guidelines for verification publicly available for the first time. That means if a user requests the checkmark, they should already have a decent idea of whether or not they qualify before submitting the request. Twitter has never been especially transparent about this before, nor did it commit to a rollout date for the new feature.
The verification process has been something of a roller coaster over the years. Twitter used to verify anyone it felt was a noteworthy public figure, but in 2016, the site launched a request feature not dissimilar to this new one. Then, in 2017, after the site gave a checkmark to white supremacist Jason Kessler, it got rid of the feature — vowing to fix it without specifying how it would change in the future.
Speaking from experience, the old request system felt like a roll of the dice. I submitted my personal information for verification back in 2016, when I was just a tech-writing intern fresh out of college. Twitter granted me a blue check without explaining why. In hindsight, that probably shouldn’t have happened.
It’s baffling that Twitter hasn’t been more transparent about this until now, but the change will be welcome.