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Twitter’s Verification Process Remains Problematic, With Several Bot Profiles Getting Blue Checkmarks

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Have you recently applied for Twitter verification, and been subsequently rejected by the platform’s assessment team?

This might help to soften the blow – despite launching a new and improved verification process back in May, designed to help signify notable identities in several defined categories, researchers have found that even Twitter’s new system is still flawed, potentially in a big way, with several bot profiles, using entirely fake identities, being granted the prestigious blue tick.

A data researcher going by the name of Conspirador Norteño on the platform has identified six bot accounts, each created less than a month ago, that have been approved for verification, somehow making their way through Twitter’s new, more rigorous testing process.

Twitter fake profiles with blue tick

As explained by Norteño:

“These six newly-created verified accounts have 977 followers in common. One is @verified (which follows all blue-check verified accounts). The other 976 were all created on June 19th or June 20th, 2021, and all follow the same 190 accounts. […] Very few of the accounts in this network have tweeted. The majority of the tweet content is spam in Korean sent via automation service dlvr(dot)it promoting a website.”

Norteño further explains that many of the profile images these accounts have used are either stock photos or AI-generated depictions, meaning that they’re almost definitely fake accounts – or at best, they’re not honestly representing any person or business. 

Shortly after Norteño’s tweet started getting attention, Twitter deleted the accounts, while also providing this confirmation (to Daily Dot) that they had indeed, somehow, been verified, despite the many red flags:

We mistakenly approved the verification applications of a small number of inauthentic (fake) accounts. We have now permanently suspended the accounts in question, and removed their verified badge, under our platform manipulation and spam policy.”

So how does that happen? How does Twitter, with its updated, more vigorous, more strenuous verification process, which is designed to ensure that the wrong people stop getting blue ticks, end up approving members of a bot network, that was likely looking to use the platform to spread harmful spam and/or disinformation? 

Without internal insight into the process, we don’t know, but there are a few suggestions as to what the flaw, or flaws, may be.

One theory is that Twitter’s new verification process is entirely automated, or at least, automated to the degree that a human at the end of the chain can feel comfortable that various checks have been made by Twitter’s bots to get a profile through to the final approval stage.

If that’s the case, and spammers have worked out what, exactly, the system is looking for, they may well be able to get at least some of their accounts approved by getting as many of them as possible through the automated checking process.

At some point, with so many of these profiles coming through, the workload stacks up, and the human/s making the final call have to start ticking them off to clear the backlog. If all of these profiles have been pre-passed by automated checks, maybe Twitter starts approving the wrong profiles, and you end up with a situation where the worst actors on the platform now, effectively, have official endorsement, boosting their credibility, and potential for harm.

That’s a disastrous outcome for Twitter’s trumpeted return of verification applications, after almost five years in suspension.

In fact, given these new findings, it’s possible that Twitter’s updated verification system is actually worse than it had been before. If your application has been rejected, it could actually have come down to the most binary, basic error in the process, with the automated system misreading the information you’ve supplied – while scammers who’ve worked it out can get almost any profile approved, bringing the whole process into question.

What good is having a verification system if you can’t trust what that blue checkmark even means? And these are only six examples – how many others are there that have been approved simply because they met Twitter’s flawed requirement system?

To be fair, Twitter says that humans are assessing verification applications, and it’s not entirely automated.

In a recent Twitter Spaces session, members of the platform’s product team answered some of the common questions about verification, and why people are being rejected.

As noted in the session (via Financial Express):

The people who review applications are undergoing rigorous training to ensure that we only verify eligible people, per our policy.”

You would think that ‘eligible people’ would need to represent real entities as a basic measure, but evidently not, and if Twitter is in fact using human review for all applications, how could it have possibly approved these bot profiles when even the most basic digging reveals some pretty significant cracks in their facade?

No matter how you look at it, it’s not a great endorsement for Twitter’s process. And while it could well detect and fix the errors, and weed out any profiles that have been mistakenly approved, it’s a pretty significant flaw, which suggests that Twitter hasn’t exactly worked out its verification system just yet.

Basically, if you were rejected, it’s probably not you, it’s Twitter’s broken system that made a mistake. 

At least you can hold onto that as a comfort for your dented ego in these trying times.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Amid the various large-scale changes at Twitter, the platform is also working on some smaller tweaks and updates, which may or may not ever get released, but could provide valuable functionality for many users.

First off, Twitter’s testing the ability to search through your Likes, so you can find out who, specifically, has liked your tweets.

That could help you glean more context when reaching out to someone, or just another way to understand who’s responding to your tweets.

And it could be particularly valuable as a research tool for marketers in understanding their audience and who they’re reaching with their tweets.

Twitter’s also testing a new way to filter your replies, which could be handy if you get a lot of responses to a tweet.

Tweet reply sorting

I mean, I’m not sure how many people are getting so many replies to their tweets that they need a filtering option, but for those that are, this could be a simple way to ensure you’re staying up on the most relevant responses and responders, to better manage your engagement.

Finally, Twitter’s also experimenting with new timeline settings, which would provide more control over your timeline and pinned lists.

Twitter timeline controls

Note also, in the middle screen, that Twitter’s developing an option that would enable you to hide your tweet view counts, which would provide another way to manage your activity in the app.

As noted, all of these are in test mode, with Twitter engineer Andrea Conway posting them for public opinion, before exploring further development. But they could be handy, and while they’re not game-changers as such (which may mean they get less priority), smaller tweaks and updates like this could be significant for certain users, and could make it easier to manage your tweet activity.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …

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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

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Twitter Tests New Quick Boost Option for Tweets

Here’s the difficult thing with Twitter no longer having a comms department – now, there’s nowhere to go to confirm info about the app’s latest updates and features, and where each is available, etc.

Case in point – this week, Twitter appears to have launched a new in-stream boost option for tweets, which provides a quick and easy way to promote your tweet without having to launch a full ad campaign.

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by Jonah Manzano (and shared by Matt Navarra), the new boost option would be available direct from a tweet. You’d simply tap through, select a budget, and you would be able to boost your tweet then and there.

Which seems to be new, but also seems familiar.

It’s sort of like Twitter’s Quick Promote option, but an even more streamlined version, with new visuals and a new UI for boosting a tweet direct from the details screen.

Tweet boost

So it does seem like a new addition – but again, with no one at Twitter to ask, it’s hard to confirm detail about the option.

But from what we can tell, this is a new Twitter ad process, which could provide another way to set an objective, a budget, and basic targeting parameters to reach a broader audience in the app.

Which could be good, depending on performance, and there may well be some tweets that you just want to quickly boost and push out to more people, without launching a full campaign.

It could also be a good way for Twitter to bring in a few more ad dollars, and it could be worth experimenting with to see what result you get, based on the simplified launch process.

If it’s available to you. We’d ask Twitter where this is being made available, but we can’t. So maybe you’ll see it in the app, maybe not.

Thus is the enigma of Twitter 2.0.



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