July 19, 2016
Beginning today, Twitter will allow anyone to request the blue check mark beside their name that determines if they are a “verified user.” Previously, only public figures and brands were able to get the mark.
To sign up for the chance at a mark, users must fill out a form, according to a Twitter blog post today. In it, they’ll need to leave a working phone number and email address, their profile photo, and a justification for why they need verification. Those who’ll become a verified user, Twitter says, will be those “determined to be of public interest.”
The mark has been a kind of dumb, pointless sign of prestige on the platform for a while. Hopefully this update will take any uppity previously verified user down a peg.
You can fill out the form here for your very own chance to be a verified Twitter user.
Why? Almost Definitely to Stop Trolls
Twitter’s had the verification mark around for a long time, and plenty of users have complained about the process in the past, due to the seeming irregularity between those who have the check mark and those who don’t. But there’s one possible reason why the social platform is widening the parameters for verification now: Trolling.
Twitter has held a reputation for its failure to monitor or deter the trolls who use the network to air their insecurity issues via hateful comment brigades at targeted users. Most recently, actor Leslie Jones of the Ghostbusters reboot has been the victim of bigoted, misogynistic comments.
I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.All this cause I did a movie.You can hate the movie but the shit I got today…wrong
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016
Any Verified User Can Filter Out Unverified Users
Twitter has already introduced a feature to funnel away the unverified responses from the mentions and notifications of a verified user, should that user feel the need to censor them. With the new update, that feature becomes relevant to a much wider swathe of users: Anyone bullied on Twitter can now turn off the unverified, egg-for-a-profile-pic users.
However, the trolls on Twitter are difficult to harness. They’ll still exist on the network. Verified public figures often lead the trolls, even if they don’t post the worst stuff themselves. Twitter will need to take further steps than a tweaked verification in order to stop the hate speech.
Still, this move is a great step in the right direction. By cutting away trolls’ voices, users can remove a massive incentive for those trolls to speak at all.
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