anyways it's time for a deeply uncritical thread about twitter blue checks (verification) that i've been thinking about
one problem twitter's had with blue checks is that once you get it, you can change your display name, profile picture, handle, etc. to mimic someone else while having a blue check, which circumvents the point of having a blue check
if you believe the point of having a blue check to mean that you're a verified account, anyways. which is what they say it means, but in reality and in practice, it really hasn't reflected that imo
a solution would be to have an unchangeable field that is linked to the verification. twitter shouldn't make the handle, pfp, or display name unchangeable, though, for obvious social reasons. folks change these all the time, would be too restrictive.
furthermore, this field has to appear on every tweet for it to work. not all folks click through to a profile, so you can still misinform folks if the unchangeable verified field doesn't appear on every single tweet from a verified account
some folks might argue that this makes tweets too cluttered! and there's no space to add another field on tweets. but i've been thinking a lot about how they add election labels to all the tweets from political candidates, and this has worked. why not generalize this line?
my suggestion: like the election labels, for verified users, display a field that you fill in upon applying for verification, that can't be changed unless you re-apply for verification. this way you can still change your handle and display name, but this field always stays
my initial thought is just to make this field be a name field. that way instead of referring to a handle or display name, when you want to actually confirm someone is who they say they are, just look at this verified name line.
the cons of this are if accounts need to be anonymous for some reason and another question is what practices twitter would follow to handle pen names / non-government names. but a name identifier would make sense for public figures, even official company accounts
but that brings me to the thought that this could only work if twitter actually took verification seriously and *meant* it. like, if they actually used blue checks to mean "this is actually this person/company" and not "this is someone we think is distinguished" like they do now
it's not an impossible task, and it's not even one that's unheard of. services like airbnb do verification in this manner, to actually mean "this is really this person" and honestly that's what twitter should do too, to fight off bots and imposters
all the verification process should be is to say, "i'm really the person i say i am on this unchangeable field". and anyone should be able to apply for verification so that it can actually be a meaningful tool against misinformation and impersonation
anyways, i say this is a deeply uncritical thread because this is all just me brainstorming how the verified system on twitter should change and how we *could* change it to actually work and work well. but it's like, a thing i thought up in like, ten minutes
i think ultimately what this tweet is, is frustration at the fact that twitter has been around for over a decade and hasn't figured out a working solution themselves. there are people paid six figure salaries to do this, and if i can think of a solution in ten minutes...
like, today, the blue check system clearly isn't used to say "this account is really me" and one reason is that impersonation can still happen (jaboukie doing this time and time again shows how broken the current system is)
btw i think what jaboukie does is comedic and incredible, and in my eyes the reason twitter took the blue check away from him is an admission of their own failure to make this system actually work. with my fix, you'd never run into this problem
but the deeper issue here is the fact that honestly, i don't think they *want* the verification system to mean "this is really this person". my idea is just one easy way they could do it. but they don't. and it feels very intentional
really, the verification system on twitter is a reflection of power and connections. white supremists on this site with a few hundred followers are verified before authors and professors with tens of thousands of followers are. it's a status granting badge.
that being said, it *could* be a powerful tool to combat disinformation, bots, impersonation, and even harassment. it *could* be use to create protections for people of color against dogpiling. they've had all the time to work on it, but they haven't done it. gotta be intentional
one possible response: "it's actually really complicated to do this." twitter has how many engineers who tackle difficult problems all the time? i fully think this is a cop-out. they have the people, the ingenuinity, and the time to solve this issue.
there's absolutely *no* way that entire teams being paid six figure salaries who work full time haven't been able to figure out a workable verification system. these are smart folks. it's likely people disagree on what the system should be and/or it's not a priority.
but i argue it should be a priority, and if there was a strong push from leadership to make this field actually mean "this is actually this person", it would have been done. so i think the fact it's not this already shows that at least some folks don't think that's what it means
anyways, that's it for this thread, i'm just thinking aloud about stuff, and like i said, i feel like this is a deeply uncritical assessment. maybe some folks feel i'm totally off the mark, but this is just my first impression about the verified system. it's gotta change imo
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