Twitter has bestowed upon us another update about its issues with account verification. Last week, it announced it would put new verifications on hold while it deals with the feature’s identity crisis. One problem (among many) is that while many people try and fail to get the blue checkmark, other notorious accounts are granted it–including, most recently, the man who organized the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Today, Twitter announced that it is performing an internal review of already verified accounts and will remove the blue checkmark from accounts that do not conform to the platform’s rules.
5 / We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 15, 2017
What are these rules? Currently, they are accounts that intentionally mislead people by “changing one’s display name or bio.” (It’s unclear if fun name changes will be considered against the rules.) Accounts that promote hate or violence, incite or engage harassment, or promote or tweet violent, disturbing, or dangerous content are also against verification guidelines. It should be said that these rules are vague and poorly written–and don’t take into account other types of content like willful misinformation.
Will Twitter be able to audit every blue checkmark, white nationalists and all? We’ll have to wait and see. But in the meantime, it may behoove Twitter to really think about the efficacy of the feature, because these days it just feels like a popularity mark.