We’ve been hearing this for some time now, but an hour ago, Twitter put out a tweet that confirms this: Twitter is no longer offering Verified Accounts (like the one Alyssa Milano has), and says on its ‘About Verified Accounts’ page that, “We’re closing the beta test of this feature to build a system that will be better for users.”
We had heard from a few people that deal with celebrities and large companies that Twitter was no longer verifying accounts, but this is the first time that we’ve heard from Twitter that they are building something new.
So what could this new system be? Well, hopefully Twitter will do something that will be more automated, if that is possible. However, identity confirmation is pretty hard. Where is the line where you say who owns an account/brand name etc? For instance, what will the new rules be for accounts like @BPGlobalPR? Beyond that, how does a small business get “verified” especially if they have a common business name like Joe’s Coffee?
That said, Facebook has done a pretty good job of “verifying” who people are, but a lot of that is based on context – pictures, other connections, etc. Can something be built like this for Twitter? Do we really need it? Well, in certain cases, we absolutely do – rumors can spread extremely quickly on Twitter and sometimes they involve life and death situations, so verifying sources/accounts can be extremely important sometimes.
There are many sides of this story – a verified identity offers many benefits, but the benefits need be pushed out past the celebrities and major corporations to the other tens of millions of users out there. It will be really interesting to see if Twitter can solve this problem.
Oh, and hopefully while they’re at it they’ll figure out what to do with stale, unused accounts.