Reforming Twitter’s Verification System: Musk’s Proposals and the Uproar Among Old Media and Privileged Users
Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, aims to evaluate citizen journalism and has already implemented significant changes after two weeks.
What were the Problems with the old way? As Musk so eloquently put it, “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.”
Musk’s proposals have caused an uproar among Old Media and privileged users who received badges for being at the right place and time. He criticized the old system, which gave verified blue badges to politicians, celebrities, and notable brands for free, creating a hierarchy of “Important and Not-So Important” users. The old system allowed media sponsors to sell badges for as much as $15,000, making Verification a symbol of wealth and Twitter dependent on advertisers.
Although not widely known, Twitter’s old system enabled Media Sponsors to sell verified badges at a price. In 2007, the going rate was $700, but as Twitter became one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, the price skyrocketed by 2,042.86% in 15 years, reaching over $15,000, as joked by Hans Mahncke, co-host of “Truth Over News” on EpochTV.
Twitter’s dependence on advertisements as its primary source of income has made the platform accountable and reliant on political aims or goals. The verification process has become a symbol of wealth, where advertisers treat followers as products sold to the highest bidder.
To liberate Twitter, they must reduce their reliance on advertisements.
The Controversy Surrounding Musk’s Proposals
Musk’s proposals have shaken the tree at its roots, causing an uproar among Old Media, particularly from privileged individuals who might not have deserved a blue badge in the first place. To ensure fairness, Twitter must have more consistent policies since several verified users gained their status through sheer luck by being in the right place at the right time.
One criterion, for instance, was being a notable public figure or brand, which is needed to guarantee status.
The system was biased against independent free thinkers, and users found loopholes that allowed them to verify their family members, friends, or employees who were not famous or well-known. Suppose they had links to the entertainment industry, such as being a hairdresser, assistant, or maid. In that case, they could acquire Verification, leading authentic content creators who worked tirelessly to establish their audience from the ground up to feel disheartened.
Addressing the Verification Issue: Open Verification as a Solution
What can be done to address this issue? It is crucial to provide all users equal opportunities to succeed by implementing a system that rewards content creators from various fields, including bloggers, freelance journalists, gamers, podcasters, subscription models, musicians, and educators. Open Verification would create a level playing field for all and ensure that talent and hard work are given priority over connections and wealth.
But why limit ourselves? Why not extend Verification to professionals in the white and blue-collar sectors? Currently, no social media platform verifies qualified professionals such as teachers, bookkeepers, lawyers, nurses, electricians, realtors, or any profession regulated by state license boards or membership organizations like the NPPA, NACPB, or the NNA. According to Statista, in 2020, approximately 37.9% of individuals aged 25 and above in the U.S. had graduated from a college or higher education institution.
Moreover, according to the U.S. Census, over seven million small businesses, including many self-employed entrepreneurs, contribute to the economy. These businesses operate in various sectors and would significantly benefit from having an officially verified account for their respective professions. Verifying their identity would enhance their credibility in the public eye and promote their services.
The critical question is, how many professionals or content creators would be willing to pay to verify their identity on Twitter? The answer is millions.
Twitter boasts 329 million active users, and implementing this feature would undoubtedly boost the economy. It would unlock new opportunities that we have yet to see on any social media platform and has the potential even to surpass LinkedIn as the go-to platform for professionals.
Here’s Our Plan: Create a 3-level price tier structure for Twitter Blue.
Receive a blue badge.
Verify your Identity; use driver license or state issued I.D. Card.(Great for the average user).
Receive a Blue badge + Official Profile Label.
Verify your Identity, including your official blog, streaming or podcast channel, YouTube, or online subscription page. (Great for musicians, sex-workers, Gamers, podcasts and more.)
Receive a Blue badge + Official Profile Label.
Verify your Identity, including your Professional Membership org or State Board License. (Great for the Blue collar or white-collar workers across several sectors.)
To implement this plan successfully, we must create at least seven or eight official profile labels for content creators and 20 or more for professionals.
There are various ways to proceed, but it’s best to take inspiration from what has worked well for other services.
For instance, adult websites like Pornhub and Onlyfans require users to take a selfie along with a photo of their identification card. Similarly, on Adam4Adam, users must have a profile photo that matches their I.D. They can only remove that photo if a moderator approves it.
Limiting how many times a user can change their profile photo within a specific time frame is essential.
It is also crucial to prohibit changing usernames to prevent scammers from obtaining Verification only to change their profile information later to deceive people. Implementing these plans soon can lead Twitter to become highly profitable.
To achieve this, we must dream more extensively and not be afraid to be different.
Musk’s dedication to promoting independent news sources, content creators, and free thinkers gives me confidence that Twitter is in capable hands.
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