Twitter appears to be testing a new Twitter Blue subscriber verification process that requires submission of a government ID. Code-level insights reveal a process for submitting a photo of the user’s ID, both front and back, along with a selfie photo to verify their Twitter account. The feature is listed alongside others that are only available to Twitter Blue subscribers, such as support for editing tweets, uploading longer videos, organizing bookmarks with folders, and other paid subscription benefits.
The ID upload feature was discovered in Twitter’s code last week by product information company Watchful.ai, but it’s unclear for now whether it’s being tested externally. The company told AapkaDost it believes the feature is being tested in the US, where it was found in the Android version of the Twitter app. However, it doesn’t know how many (or if any) Twitter users actually see the feature to date.
As you may recall, Twitter controversially revised its verification process under Elon Musk’s ownership by moving away from an older system where users were verified if they were notable people of some kind – such as celebrities, politicians or other public figures – to a system where users could just pay for the verification check.
That system ran into some problems when it first launched, when users authenticated themselves and then impersonated other high-profile individuals or even companies, leading to chaos. Twitter then had to pause, reprovision, and reboot the system with increased protection. It also devised a way for companies to verify themselves and receive a gold check and said it would label some high-profile accounts with an “official” badge.
While the revamped system requires a phone number to be verified, it has been shown to be vulnerable to the threat of impersonation. As The Washington Post reported earlier this year, Twitter’s system did not ask for photo ID upon verification, allowing a reporter to add the verified blue badge to a fake account claiming to be that of a US senator.
Adding a photo ID and selfie requirement to Twitter Blue’s verification process could help combat impersonation if the feature were rolled out more widely.
In the screenshots provided to AapkaDost by Watchful.ai, Twitter informs users that the new verification process will take approximately three minutes and that their information and images will be shared with a third party to confirm their identity. That indicates that Twitter itself is not handling the verification process, but is working with a provider to do the heavy lifting here.
While many people continue to believe that authentication should be a service provided to the community, rather than a paid offering, Twitter’s move to turn clout chasing into a paid feature was later adopted by Meta, as it opened up new revenue streams pursues beyond advertising. Last week, Meta launched paid verification on Facebook and Instagram in the US, following previous rollouts in Australia and New Zealand. The system allows users to purchase the blue tick for a monthly fee. However, in the case of Meta, authentication also offers impersonation protection and direct access to customer support, which creators and businesses may find worth the cost.
If launched publicly, identity-based government verification would be a notable change to Twitter’s ID verification system, which today is more focused on giving more visibility to Twitter Blue subscribers on the platform, where their tweets are prioritized. in the notification timeline. But while Twitter can now verify that someone is a human with a real phone numberit does not necessarily indicate that they are who they say they are, as The Washington Post tests had shown.
Twitter doesn’t respond to press inquiries (other than occasionally emailing back a poop emoji), so don’t expect any comment.