Help with PhD work relating to Twitter policy


#1

Dear All,

I am doing research for a thesis as part of my PHD which will be researched in the future and converted and published into a book once ready. I am looking at social media, its impact on users through the exchange of values and ideology. I am at a point where I am looking into the Twitter verification process and it seems to be a private process with no accessible criteria as to what exactly constitutes induction approval and verification by your company. I imagine this is by design, which of course raises questions.

My work is largely community based. I have spoken with local reporters and politicians who are verified and I obtained their thoughts on how they (largely) feel the verification badge adds credence to their posts and left them feeling somewhat self validated. On the flip side I have spoken to a local filmmaker whose film account was submitted for verification, yet declined. This particular example struck me as a point of interest because the same verified reporters I spoke to, covered and praised the work of the account holder.

So I looked further into the matter and the perplexity was compounded by observing the fact that all of the subjects, nine in total, who were featured in the documentary are all verified. Subsequent to its release, the documentary obtained mainstream press over the world from sources such as Fox, BBC, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, Forbes, Nerdist, Uproxx and Deadline Hollywood among others and a lot of these mediums used Twitter (with their verified accounts) as a forum to announce or review the work.

There are verified accounts which follow the dismissed account in question and on a scan of the RT’s and Likes of the page, there are many other verified account engagements. These include many instances of accounts not associated with the film.

So there is a clear disconnect here between the actual verified accounts and the body which verifies them.

My question is: are accounts verified subjectively or objectively? Objectively, one would certainly assume that on the above evidence the account in question would reasonably be verified with no hesitation. When it is factored in that other brands which achieved less critical, consumer and commercial reach are verified, is it safe to assume Twitter is subjective in its approach to verify accounts? And if this is the case, is there a specific direction or perhaps ideology of what is to be deemed credible, Twitter is trying to push on its users?

There is a Wikipedia page for the documentary in question and in cross referencing the Wikipedia guidelines (and confirmed in an interview with a prominent member of the Wikimedia Foundation for my thesis) the criteria for page suitability and sustainability is clear and transparent. Wikipedia does not remove articles so long as they are independently verified as being credible and of public interest, and cited by credible sources.

The subject matter of the documentary is wrestling and I wonder if this is considered perhaps low brow by Twitter, despite its media coverage and acceptance? Perhaps more precisely, whether the individual humans who verify the accounts substitute objectivity for their own tastes and preferences or perhaps that which is mandated to them?

Or is this perhaps just an anomaly case where the account was simply overlooked in error upon a mountain of submissions and no offense or judgement was intended? Or perhaps the account simply didn’t meet a technical criteria of sorts?

I would appreciate any kind of response which would help clarify the matter and aid my thesis.

Yours Faithfully,

Ian Spencer


#2

There was a recent change (July 19th) in the verification process, so things may be different now than they were a few months ago: https://blog.twitter.com/2016/announcing-an-application-process-for-verified-accounts-0

Current requirements are listed in: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20174631 and a few more details here https://support.twitter.com/articles/20174630

For some details of how things were before the recent change, this is a good first hand account: http://anildash.com/2013/03/what-its-like-being-verified-on-twitter.html

Other things that might be relevant:
https://twitter.com/verified follows all verified accounts, and looking at those might get you something interesting, like this: https://medium.com/@Haje/who-are-twitter-s-verified-users-af976fc1b032

The current support pages are the latest versions of requirements and rules - for the history and changes, it’s a little bit more difficult to dig up, but archive.org has some copies of earlier verified rules and requirements and changes to the process, eg: https://web.archive.org/web/20100727171744/http://support.twitter.com/articles/122966-why-wasn-t-my-account-verified worth digging around those - i was able to find a few with “verified” in the url with https://web.archive.org/web//http://support.twitter.com/articles/

Haven’t really looked at verified accounts in detail, but this paper might be relevant too: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/counts/pubs/TrustedUsers-icwsm2014.pdf


#3

Hi Ian - thanks for the question. As a forum for API and developer platform, this is not a topic we can really answer here - “Rules and Policies” in this case refer to the developer policy and agreement rather than to how Twitter works in general.

I appreciate that this is not the answer that you are looking for, but all we can do in this case is to refer you to our published information around verification and verified accounts. You could also contact our media team. Thank you, and good luck with the research.


#4