Twitter is halting the expansion of its verification program, saying it needs to work on the application and review process that lets people into the blue check mark club. This change, where Twitter won’t be letting new people apply for verification, is coming after Twitter admitted that several fake accounts, which reportedly seemed to be part of a botnet, were incorrectly verified.
If you’ve recently applied for verification, there is a chance you’ll get it — Twitter Verified has said that it’ll still be reviewing existing applications, so the freeze is just preventing new people from being able to apply. In other words, if you were able to apply before, Twitter’s lead says you still can. Twitter hasn’t indicated that it’ll be making changes to the criteria that it uses to deem accounts as verifiable or not. A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that it would “resume rolling out applications in the next few weeks.”
We’ve temporarily hit pause on rolling out access to apply for Verification so we can make improvements to the application and review process.
For those who have been waiting, we know this may be disappointing. We want to get things right, and appreciate your patience.
— Twitter Verified (@verified) August 13, 2021
This isn’t the first time Twitter has paused its verification program — it put the public process on hold in 2017, after it received backlash for verifying one of the organizers behind the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville. It brought back a revamped version in 2021 — and paused it a week later due to an avalanche of requests.
The start-stop issues Twitter has been having with its Verified program speak to the difficulties that can come with issuing a badge that is sometimes regarded by users as an endorsement. Twitter says that the purpose of the badge is to show that an account is “authentic, notable, and active,” but even those criteria can end up courting controversy when people who are arguably notable get their applications rejected (especially when obviously fake accounts make it through).
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Twitter was halting applications. We regret the error.