Twitter has spent the past several months trying to fix its verification mess, but it looks like you'll have to wait a while longer for a solution. New product lead Kayvon Beykpour has announced that Twitter is putting its verification reform efforts on hold to focus on "information quality" in the run-up to the US mid-term elections. The move is meant to help the social network "move faster" on areas it thinks are "most important," Beykpour said.
The company will come back to the verification issue once it makes "more progress," Beykpour added, referencing an email that hinted it might take a few weeks. He also acknowledge that the ad hoc verification in the meantime has produced "frustration" from people who already saw Twitter verification as a mysterious, inconsistent process.
The pause isn't going to satisfy those who just wanted Twitter to stop verifying neo-Nazis and others who promote hate and harassment. Even CEO Jack Dorsey has acknowledged that the system "needs a complete reboot." With that in mind, there's no doubt that Twitter has plenty on its plate when it comes to the elections. It's purging massive numbers of bots, grappling with breaking news hoaxes and otherwise trying to avoid the disinformation campaigns that plagued the 2016 presidential election. As important as verification may be, Twitter would risk a larger backlash if it didn't fight attempts by Russia and others to cause havoc.
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
Back in November we paused public Verification b/c we 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. https://t.co/HJW40w9dAH— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 17, 2018
Despite that goal, we still verify accounts ad hoc when we think it serves the public conversation & is in line with our policy. But this has led to frustration b/c our process remains opaque & inconsistent with our intented pause. This is far from ideal & we still intend to fix— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 17, 2018
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 prioritize it just now (attached is an email I sent our Health leadership team last week) pic.twitter.com/6xoEv1n3TR— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 17, 2018
Instead, our team is focused on information quality ahead of the elections-- our highest priority within the Health roadmap. This focus will help us move faster on what we think is most important. After we make more progress, we plan to address Verification.— Kayvon Beykpour (@kayvz) July 17, 2018