Twitter users can once again apply to be verified after a years-long freeze on public submissions for the site’s blue check marks, though the company said only “notable” users would be awarded the badge.
The social media company paused public submissions for these badges in 2017 amid criticism that its verification program was arbitrary and confusing. It said at the time the check mark was being confused with “an endorsement or an indicator of importance”.
Under the new rules, accounts must have been active in the last six months and fit one of several criteria: government, companies, brands and organizations, news outlets and journalists, entertainment, sports and gaming, activists, organizers and other influential individuals.
It also plans categories for scientists, academics and religious leaders later this year.
The accounts must also have a record of following Twitter’s rules – specifically, no violations that resulted in a 12-hour or one-week lock outs in the previous year.
Twitter also said that in the approval process it would look holistically at user behavior such as harassment or posting content that promoted the supremacy of a particular group, “both on and off Twitter.”
Accounts must also be complete with features like a profile image and be able to prove their identity through government ID or email addresses.
Twitter said it was working to provide more information about a bevy of different account types: it plans to launch a new account of type of legitimate automated or “bot” accounts in July and memorial accounts, for deceased users, later this year. It said it was also exploring how to label humor and satire accounts.
Twitter is also planning to let users add more personal information to their profiles, the design of which have largely not changed since 2014. The new section will start with displaying gender pronouns and expand to items like interests.
Twitter said applications for verification will be available from Thursday and would roll out over the next few weeks. It said the decisions would be made by humans and that users would hear back within four weeks. If refused, users can re-apply every 30 days.
During the pause, Twitter has continued to verify some accounts, such as medical experts tweeting about COVID-19.
About 360,000 accounts, out of Twitter’s 199 million monetizable daily active users, are verified.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)