Twitter puts a halt to its work on overhauling its verification process, which provides public figures with a blue checkmark, in favor of election integrity, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted today. That’s because, as we enter another election season, “updating our verification program isn’t a top priority for us right now (election integrity is),” he wrote on Twitter this afternoon.
Last November, Twitter paused its account verifications as it tried to figure out a way to address puzzlement around what it means to be verified. That verdict came shortly after people criticized Twitter for having verified the account of Jason Keller, the person who organized the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Today Twitter still verifies accounts “ad hoc when we think it serves the public conversation & is in line with our policy,” Beykpour wrote. “But this has led to frustration b/c our process remains opaque & inconsistent with our intented [sic] pause.”
While Twitter recognizes its job isn’t done, the company is not prioritizing the work at this time — not for next couple of weeks at least, he said. In an email addressed to Twitter’s health leadership team last week, Beykpour said his team simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to focus on verification “without coming at the cost of other priorities and distracting the team.”
The highest priority, Beykpour said, is election integrity. Specifically, Twitter’s team will be looking at the product “with a specific lens towards the upcoming elections and some of the ‘election integrity’ workstreams we’ve discussed.”
We’ve heard some questions recently about the status of Verification on Twitter, so wanted to address directly. Updating our verification program isn’t a top priority for us right now (election integrity is). Here’s some history & context, and how we plan to put it on our roadmap
— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 17, 2018
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