Election integrity forces Twitter to delay account verification process

IANS
Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Twitter in November paused public verification because it wanted to address the issue that verifying the authenticity of an account was being conflated with endorsement

New Delhi: Looming elections in Pakistan, the US, Brazil and India have forced Twitter to shelve its public account verification programme as the micro-blogging platform is busy tackling the spread of fake news and misinformation, the company said on Wednesday.

Twitter "does not presently have the bandwidth" to overhaul its verification system and provide a blue checkmark to true accounts, said Kayvon Beykpour, Product Head, in a series of tweets.

"We've heard some questions recently about the status of verification on Twitter, so wanted to address directly. Updating our verification programme isn't a top priority for us right now (election integrity is)," Beykpour said.

"I don't believe we have the bandwidth to address this holistically without coming at the cost of other priorities and distracting the team," Beykpour added.

Pakistan goes to the polls on July 25, Brazil in October, the US mid-term in November and India early next year.

Twitter in November paused public verification because it wanted to address the issue that verifying the authenticity of an account was being conflated with endorsement.

"Our intention was to hit the brakes until we had a fix across policy/enforcement/product.

"Though we've made a lot of progress towards a holistic solution, the truth is that this work is still incomplete and we're choosing not to prioritise it just now," Beykpour noted.

Twitter is currently focused on information quality ahead of the elections.

"This focus will help us move faster on what we think is most important. After we make more progress, we plan to address Verification," the Twitter product head said.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has also acknowledged that the system "needs a complete reboot". 

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