I mean, what did they think was going to happen?
Last week, Twitter announced that it was re-opening public requests for profile verification, which have been on pause since 2017 due to confusion around the process, and what, exactly, its coveted blue checkmark on profiles respresents.
But now, due to a massive influx of requests, Twitter says that it needs to put public verification requests on hold once again, in order to clear the backlog.
We’re rolling in verification requests. So we gotta hit pause on accepting any more for now while we review the ones that have been submitted.
We’ll reopen requests soon! (we pinky swear)
— Twitter Verified (@verified) May 28, 2021
As noted, that’s not really a huge surprise – people are always looking to get their profiles verified, on every social platform, in order to gain an extra measure of in-app status, and given that Twitter has 199 million active users, and only 360k of them currently have the blue tick (0.18%), that’s a lot of people who will no doubt be very keen to jump in and apply for verification, even if they don’t meet the tough new criteria for such.
And this is after just one week – imagine how many people were still mulling over whether to apply, and after just 8 days, in total, Twitter is already overwhelmed due to the workload. That doesn’t bode well for the future of its public application process.
This has always been part of the problem for profile verification, which is why most platform’s don’t offer a public request process, instead maintaining a more opaque, in-house assessment system which grants profile verification on its own whim, or via its own, internal qualifiers that no one else, for sure, understands.
Which is really what Twitter has been doing for the past four years, with many profiles still getting the blue checkmark even after it publicly shut down the process.
In many ways, Twitter would be better off maintaining that process – but in its ambition to be as open and transparent as possible, Twitter would prefer to operate a more upfront, accessible process, in order to enable a wider breadth of people – including medical experts, scientists, academics, etc. – to get its mark of trust and authority, which, theoretically, could have broader benefits for on-platform engagement and interaction.
But it does seem like a public request process, open to everyone, may not be the best way to go about it. But then again, maybe, in a month or so, Twitter’s able to clear the backlog, and once the initial hype of its verification re-opening has died down, the requests will also start to flatten out, and it’ll get to a more manageable, maintainable, and sustainable level for Twitter’s team to deal with.
But I wouldn’t count on it.
Ask any prominent social media manager or Twitter staff member if their inbox ever stops being hammered with verification requests from random folk, many of which are probably scammers trying to get the blue tick in order to then sell the account to someone else.
As noted by Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour, in response to a question about new projects last August:
That, and finally fixing Verification so that I stop getting hundreds of verification requests daily 🙂
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) August 28, 2020
That may not even be an exaggeration – so again, it’s no surprise that Twitter’s system has been bogged down with applications after one week.
Which brings me back to my original question – what did Twitter actually think was going to happen here?