Twitter announced on Thursday it has started accepting applications for its coveted blue check under a newly rolled out set of guidelines.
The company stopped giving the badges after approving the account of white nationalist Jason Kessler, the lead organizer of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville, Va. Public outrage over Kessler’s verified status prompted the company to temporarily stop issuing the checks while it came up with a new set of rules.
Now, after more than three years and at least one round of public comment, Twitter has overhauled its verification system to focus on what it calls accounts of high public interest.
“Today’s application rollout marks the next milestone in our plans to give more transparency, credibility and clarity to verification on Twitter,” the company said in a statement.
The social media giant has been widely criticized in the past for its opaque and unpredictable practices in doling out the sought-after symbols.
Twitter has unveiled new changes in the past year in an effort to improve the culture on its site.
Earlier this month, the tech company released a feature that detects “mean” replies on its service before a user presses send. When a rude tweet is detected, an automatic prompt reads, “Want to review this before Tweeting?” The user is presented with three choices: tweet, edit, or delete.
Last year, the social media site also implemented new features to curb misinformation, including putting warning labels on false claims about election fraud and the coronavirus and turning to users to fact check messages. It’s even banned users, including former President Donald Trump, who break its rules.
Twitter plans to gradually roll out its application for certain users including companies, activists, celebrities, journalists, and politicians over several weeks.
The social media site has developed several guidelines for accounts to follow in order to obtain the coveted blue checkmark — making the process more stringent than in the past.
The company said it is establishing several checks throughout the application process to ensure a verified user will contribute to the site in a healthy way.
Twitter will require a check of the user’s identity before verification and users will be given several options to prove they are who they say they are. That includes linking to an official website referencing a user’s identity or the organization they’re affiliated with and their Twitter account. An official government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport or an email address will also be accepted.
If an application to be verified is denied, users get another shot to apply 30 days later.
NPR’s Shannon Bond contributed to this report.