Twitter Pauses Verification Reform to Focus on App Health Ahead of Midterms

Verification Overhaul on Hold

Twitter is pumping the brakes on its new blue check verification process, announced in March, to spend more time prioritizing the app’s health and election integrity in preparation for this year’s hotly contested midterm elections.

Twitter pumps the brakes on its blue check verification reform to focus on election integrity ahead of this year's midterms. Read on to find out what this means for marketers... Click To Tweet

Twitter’s current account verification system, which gives a blue check mark to public figures, was recently criticized for verifying the account of Jason Keller, one of the plotters behind the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA.

In the wake of these criticisms, as well as a general confusion as to how certain people get verified in the first place, Twitter decided to pause all account verifications and give its system a full overhaul.

Twitter’s Head of Products Sets New Priorities

Seven months after pausing the verification process, Twitter’s new head of products, Kayvon Beykpour, stated in an internal message,

“Though the current state of Verification is definitely not ideal (opaque criteria and process, inconsistency in our procedures, external frustration from customers), I don’t believe we have the bandwidth to address this holistically (policy, process, product, and a plan around how & when these fit together) without coming at the cost of other priorities and distracting the team.” 

After sharing this email publicly on Twitter, Beykpour followed up by saying,

“Instead, our team is focused on information quality ahead of the elections– our highest priority within the Health roadmap. This focus will help us move faster on what we think is most important. After we make more progress, we plan to address Verification.”

Twitter Takes Steps to Prevent Another Disastrous Election Season

After the spam and ‘fake news’ filled 2016 election season, Twitter started looking at ways to safeguard its app from unhealthy content.

So far this year, the social media giant has already taken several steps to curb misleading political content on its platform including launching phase two of its ad transparency center and implementing new political ad policies.

As part of this transparency push, accounts running political ads will now need to certify that they are living in the United States. Once the system kicks into high gear, foreign nationals will no longer be able to target political campaign ads to people in the U.S.

Twitter will also start putting badges and disclaimers on all political ad content. Accounts sharing those ads will need to have a profile picture and a link in their author bio that leads to accurate contact information.

What this Means for Marketers

Twitter’s new ad policies were unveiled almost simultaneously with Facebook’s. Some of these new policies have tripped marketers up, especially those working with political campaigns or promoting content with political undertones.

For example, marketers working for a news publication who are about to promote an article about a new US government ad law may be stopped in their tracks and asked to verify their identity.

In the case of Facebook, marketers or publishers must validate their address by entering the last four of their social, submitting a picture of their driver’s license, and entering a code online that the company sends to their address via snail mail.

This process takes about a week so it’s important for marketers working with political content to get that Facebook verification done now before they start trying to boost political posts.

So far, Twitter hasn’t gone to the lengths Facebook has to verify identity but it’s likely that they’ll start pushing out something similar very soon as part of this new Election Integrity push.

It’s always important for marketers working with social to pay attention to changing ad guidelines and give themselves plenty of time to rework their content strategies, if necessary.

The week it takes to verify your identity on Facebook can feel like a year when you’re trying to boost a breaking news story so instead of letting your article or campaign get buried, do your research in advance.

Do you agree with Twitter’s decision to pause it’s verification reform in favor of Election Integrity? Let us know in the comments.

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