Twitter has many problems. Harassment, a sprawl of Nazis whining in people’s feeds, fake news, and an abuse team that seems unable to figure out what abuse is all stand out, but one big issue that loops around every so often is verification. Verification is seen by many as an endorsement of those with the blue checkmark next to their name, although Twitter claims that it’s simply to mark people of interest. Now, Twitter wants to shift it to simply a way to confirm you are who you say you are.
Variety is reporting that Twitter is shifting verification from something Twitter doles out for being newsworthy or seemingly relevant in some way to something where you basically prove your identity. It’s not clear how they’re going to do this, but they want the solution to be “scalable,” which implies some sort of easy-to-meet standard. This approach has its own problems: Facebook and LGBT activists have been fighting for years over Facebook’s “real name” policy. But it would take away the implicit endorsement the check mark is freighted with, rightly or wrongly.
Of course, this also lifts the burden off of Twitter for explaining why it’s verified various unsavory characters. And it ignores two other seemingly simple solutions; either reveal its verification process in detail for every user who gets the checkmark, or just do away with it altogether. But any change is good, although it still won’t be the change users most desperately want.