Twitter’s slow shift on blue verification badges

Kurt Wagner, in this Recode post:

In a very casual Periscope livestream on Thursday, Dorsey said that he wants to verify everyone on Twitter, a continuation of the plan Twitter laid out a few years ago when it asked users to apply for verification online.

That program as been suspended since the fall, when Twitter got major backlash for verifying a few white supremacists. But it appears that Dorsey is open to relaunching some version of it once Twitter figures out how it should work.

“The intention is to open verification to everyone,” Dorsey said from a conference room at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. “And to do it in a way that is scalable [so] we’re not in the way and people can verify more facts about themselves and we don’t have to be the judge and imply any bias on our part.”

I do hope Twitter finds a way to solve the “identity” problem. I don’t have a problem allowing anonymity in public forums. But:

  1. I do think that having public comments tied to a verified identity will force people to think twice before they comment.
  2. If people do want the cloak of anonymity, my knowing this before I read the comment will give it a perspective.

To me, anonymity is important. Think whistleblowers, not trolls. But if there’s a setting available to me that lets me limit my feed to only verified accounts, or shows verified tweets in a blue bubble and anonymous tweets in a grey bubble, I can’t help but see that as helpful in slowing the spread of malnews/hatespeech.

All that said, the road to a verified identity is fraught with difficulty. A nigh-impossible problem to solve. Here’s hoping.