The blue badge goes public

Screen shot 2012 09 17 at 3.39.04 pm compressor

Twitter is opening to public the blue checkmark - a verified badge which lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.

All you have to do is fill out this form and make sure your account has a verified phone number, bio, profile pic, birthday, website, and email. Also, users must set their tweets to “public”. Howsoever, Twitter may also ask for a scan of government-issued ID (such as a passport or driver’s licence). The company recommends that “the profile and/or header photo reflects the person, the corporation’s branding, or the company’s branding.”

Not every application will be approved, though. According to Twitter representatives, accounts of "public interest" are likely to be verified: "Our goal with this update is to help more people find great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for creators and influencers – no matter where they are in the world – to easily connect with a broader audience.” Prior to today, Twitter tended only to verify public figures, brands, and people in media, politics, sports, business, and other high-profile sectors. "We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification," said Tina Bhatnagar, Twitter's vice president of User Services.

Until now the feature has been reserved for celebrities, journalists, politicians, and the like, but the new system could extend the verification badge, and additional features to anyone that could be at high risk of impersonation. However, it doesn’t significantly change the Twitter experience or provide any special features apart from a verified-only notification system that lets you filter replies to show only verified accounts.

Angela Chen has stated very aptly why most of Twitter users aspire to have a verified account: “In theory, Twitter’s blue “verified” check mark made it harder to impersonate famous people, but in practice it mostly showed who was famous enough to bother impersonating.”

Twitter hasn’t clarified why it’s opening the process to the public. Twitter was the first platform to introduce account verification, starting in 2009 and currently has has about 187,000 or 0.06 percent verified accounts and around 310 million monthly active users. Also, it's still uncertain if Twitter plans to verify everyday people who require the verification, or continue its previous practice approving only public figures and industry users.

Twitter previously allowed users to apply to be verified but removed the feature when they were overwhelmed with requests.

To apply, or learn more, check out the Twitter Help Center.

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