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Twitter will finally verify more accounts: How to get the blue check

After pausing public requests for verification in 2017, Twitter reopens the floodgates. You'll have to prove your account is "notable, active and authentic."

Twitter verification badge

The blue badge, so close yet so far.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Twitter users itching to get verified on the social media site can soon apply for the coveted blue badge.

In 2017, Twitter paused public submissions for verification amid confusion about what the blue check mark next to a person's profile meant. The decision came after the company drew flack for verifying the account of a white supremacist. It later pulled the badge.

Some view the badge as a status symbol. Others see it as a sign that Twitter had endorsed certain accounts, which wasn't the company's intention. 

Blue check marks remain rare. About 360,000 accounts are verified. That's just 0.2% of Twitter's 199 million monetizable daily active users.

On Thursday, Twitter announced that it will reopen applications for verification to the public over the next few weeks. To get the blue badge, you'll have to make the case that your account is "notable, authentic and active."

B Byrne, a product lead at Twitter who focuses on identity, quipped in a press conference before the relaunch of the verification program that he hopes Twitter users will stop sending him direct messages asking to get verified.

The blue badge, he said, lets people know which Twitter accounts are not only authentic but of high public interest as well. The first account verified on Twitter was that of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, back in 2009. 

"The blue verified badge gives people on Twitter more context about who they're interacting with so they can determine if the content is trustworthy and make their own decisions regarding the sources they choose to follow, which we believe leads to healthier, more informed conversations," Byrne said.

Here's what you need to know about getting verified on Twitter:

Who's eligible to get the blue check mark?

Twitter will verify accounts that are "notable, authentic and active." That includes accounts of government officials; people representing prominent brands; news organizations and journalists; activists; celebrities; athletes and others. Twitter plans to make other figures, such as academics, scientists and religious leaders, eligible for verification later this year.

To be eligible, your account must have a profile name and image, along with a confirmed email address or phone number. You must have logged in to your account in the past six months. Your follower count may also be a factor in Twitter's decision, but it isn't the only information the company is looking at. 

More details can be found on Twitter's website

Who isn't eligible for verification?

Not every account can get a blue check mark. Accounts for pets and fictional characters aren't eligible. Neither are accounts run by people who've violated Twitter's rules against platform manipulation or spam.

"If we made our verification criteria super relaxed, then lots of inauthentic accounts would be able to get verified," Byrne said. "It wouldn't really be a meaningful signal of anything."

Twitter didn't provide an estimate of how many accounts would be eligible for verification, but it's bracing itself for a flood of applications. Byrne said there's a dedicated team that'll manually evaluate the applications.

OK, I think I'm eligible. How do I apply for verification?

If you're interested in applying, go to account settings in the Twitter app, where you'll find a verification request option. Click on that option and you'll be asked to fill out an application that includes questions to verify your identity. The feature will be global, but it isn't rolling out around the world all at once. Give it a few weeks if you can't find the option.

verification-application-frames-together.png

Twitter will ask you to prove your account is notable, authentic and active.

Twitter

You'll get an email from Twitter once your application is submitted. Again, be patient. The email could take a couple of weeks to arrive. If Twitter approves your application, the blue badge will appear on your account. 

If Twitter decides you didn't meet the eligibility requirements, you can reapply 30 days after receiving its decision on your application. There's no limit to the amount of times you can reapply. 

I'm already verified on Twitter. Do I have to go through this new process?

No. Twitter said the new application process is for accounts that haven't already been verified. 

Once I get the blue badge, can it be taken away?

Yes. You can lose your verified status if you repeatedly violate Twitter's rules against hate speech, spam and other policies. The policy also applies to politicians. The company could also take away your blue badge If you change your Twitter handle or your account is inactive.

"With great verification comes great responsibility to serve the public conversation," said Sarah Husain, a product manager on Twitter's Trust and Safety Team, referencing the Spider-Man quote.

The guidelines, she said, include "play nice, lead by example and tweet others the way you want to be tweeted."

What other features is Twitter working on besides verification?

Verification is just one piece of how Twitter is thinking about identity on its platform, Byrne said.

The company plans to label automated accounts in July. Later, it'll label memorialized accounts for deceased users. It's also thinking about how to better identify humor and satire accounts. Twitter plans to revamp its user profile and allow people to add more information about themselves and their preferred gender pronoun in another tab. The company is exploring a way to let people know if account holders have verified their identity through a phone number or email as well.