Twitter’s revamped verification policy is launching on January 20th, 2021, after Twitter pressed pause on the formal application process for more than three years. The new policy was refined with input from tens of thousands of user responses after Twitter confirmed in November it would be relaunching verification next year.
That January date isn’t when the formal application process will relaunch, so you’ll have to wait a little bit longer if you’re itching to try and get a blue checkmark. Applications will open at some point in “early 2021,” a Twitter spokesperson tells The Verge. But January 20th is when the new policy takes effect and when the company says it will begin removing verification badges from inactive accounts and those that don’t meet its new requirements.
Some of the new changes in its verification policy include more lax profile information requirements to be eligible for verification, more granular and defined categories for verification badges, and new guidelines around when a verified account may lose its blue checkmark if inactive or if found in violation of Twitter’s policies.
The new categories will include government officials — which Twitter has already been verifying on a case-by-case since it paused the official process — and companies, brands and nonprofit organizations. It will also include media outlets and journalists, entertainment figures and organizations, sports-related accounts, and a broad “activists, organizers and other influential individuals” category. Twitter says it’s open to expanding its list of categories over time.
At some point next year, Twitter plans to introduce a way to label accounts that are either automated or once belonging to a person who has died. “We are not planning to automatically remove the verified badge from inactive accounts of people who are no longer living, and are working on building a way to memorialize these accounts in 2021,” reads Twitter’s blog post.
Twitter says “this will also come with an updated policy for memorialization and a new application flow to request the memorialization of an account,” while automated accounts will at some point in the future be differentiated from human-run ones “to make it easier for people to know what’s a bot and what’s not.” Twitter isn’t yet disclosing what these labels will look like or how proactively it will enforce its label requirement on bot accounts.
For human-run accounts, the company says as long as the account holder makes changes before January 20th to bring the account in line with its new verification requirements, there’s no risk of losing an existing badge. Those include ensuring an account has a verified email address or phone number, a profile image, and a display name. The company also plans to inform individuals at risk of losing their badge what they need to change to keep it before it takes action.
Twitter is reserving the right to remove verification. “Under our policy, we may also remove verification from accounts that are found to be in severe or repeated violation of the Twitter Rules. We will continue to evaluate such accounts on a case-by-case basis, and will make improvements in 2021 on the relationship between enforcement of our rules and verification,” the blog post continues. “As always, everyone on Twitter is subject to the Twitter Rules, and you can read more about our range of enforcement actions here.”
For users who want to apply to be verified, Twitter will launch a new “self-serve application process” within the app at some point in early 2021 that will let applicants select a category for verification and confirming their identity. Twitter says it will use both human review and an automated system to wade through requests.