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Twitter brings back verified profile option, will roll out new application process

On Thursday, Twitter announced that it would roll-0ut a new verification application process and would being reviewing public applications by users who wish to receive verified tag or ‘blue tick’. A user can now submit an application to request verification from the app’s account settings, the social media giant said.

In the next few weeks, as the facility starts rolling out to everyone, one can request for verification under the ‘Verified’ option in the ‘Account’ subsection of the sidebar menu “Settings and Privacy”, Twitter said. The official Twitter page of Twitter Verified said that once a user has opened the application link under the ‘Verified” option, the user needs to choose the eligible verification category, choose the method of identity confirmation and then finally submit the request.

In November 2017, Twitter paused its public verification programme after the platform received feedback that many felt were arbitrary and confusing. It de-prioritised the work because of the US Elections 2020 and so on. Last year in November, Twitter came up with a plan to re-introduce the verification programme and invited public consultation. The platform then received feedback from 20,000 people on the draft of its new verification policy, based on which the present policy has been formulated.

Under the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, which were issued in February this year, users of significant social media intermediaries must be provided with a facility to voluntarily verify themselves. Rule 5(7) of the IT Rules 2021 state that the verification process can take place on the basis of their number or account and would provide the user with a visible mark of verification.

Union IT minister RS Prasad said that this could be done in any form, such as by the use phone number, SIM card, Aadhaar and so on. “The social media companies can decide what to do. Social media accounts can be verified using SIM card with ease,” he said.

Who is eligible?

To qualify for verification, one must fit the following criteria of one of the six categories listed below:

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  • Government: To verify accounts of current key government officials there must be a public reference to the account on an official government or party site or publication or multiple references in news media.
  • Companies, brands and organizations: Organisations and secondary affiliations requesting verification should have a presence on public indices and have a follower count in the top 0.5 per cent of active accounts located in the same geographic region.
  • News organisations and journalists: Any official accounts of news organizations, journalists may be verified, if the account is public and refers directly to the name and official URL of the qualifying organization
  • Entertainment: Accounts of major entertainment companies should have a connection to a verified organisation on the account’s profile. The profile should have a link to the website associated with the entity. Individual artists should have a website associated with a verified entity, have at least 50 production credits on their IMDB profile and so on.
  • Sports and gaming: Accounts of professional sports leagues, teams, rostered athletes, and coaches listed on the official team website with a link to the account
  • Activists, organizers, and other influential individuals: People who are using Twitter to bring awareness, share information, and galvanise community members around a cause, to bring change may be verified subject to rules

In the future, Twitter plans to introduce more categories such as those for scientists, academics and religious leaders.

How to verify identity?

Twitter said that users can apply for the coveted ‘blue tick’ on their profiles, once they undergo an identity verification process:

  • Official website: Link to one’s official website that references the user (or the organization) and Twitter account.
  • ID verification: Photo of an official government-issued identification document, such as one’s  Driver’s License or Passport.
  • Official email address: An official email address with a domain relevant to the notability category you choose

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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