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X Rolls Out ID Verification for X Premium Users

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X Rolls Out ID Verification for X Premium Users

After experimenting with the option over the past few months, X has now launched its new ID verification element for X Premium subscribers, which will enable paying users to confirm their identity, via government-issued ID, in order to have an additional marker added to their X profile.

As you can see, the new process will enable users to confirm their identity via a matching process that uses both your license (or equivalent) and a selfie taken in the confirmation steps. Twitter’s partnered with “forensic identity intelligence” company au10tix for the process, which will lessen the manual labor load on X itself, but will also mean that X users will be sharing their data with both companies as part of the process.

As noted in the above screen, au10tix will keep biometric data on file for 30 days. X, however, will keep it on file indefinitely, for “related safety and security purposes”.

X also recently updated its terms of service to account for this additional data, though what exactly X plans to use this info for is unclear as yet.

At present, verifying your ID is an optional process, and adds nothing more than an extra note on your profile, which is accessible by tapping on your blue checkmark.

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X ID verification

But functionally, you don’t need to provide ID to get a verification tick in the app, you only need a phone number and a bank account. Which somewhat belies the “verification” title, as it’s not actually verifying anything, yet, at the same time, there’s nothing that gets additionally unlocked by confirming your actual information.

At least, not yet.

In X’s overview notes on ID verification, it states that:

X currently focuses on account authentication to prevent impersonation, and may explore additional measures, such as ensuring users have access to age-appropriate content and protecting against spam and malicious accounts, to maintain the integrity of the platform and safeguard healthy conversations.”

So maybe, in future, X could look to age-gate content, and you’ll need to go through the ID verification process to access adult material. Which would probably be a good step, though it may also hit X in the usage stats, so it probably doesn’t have a heap of motivation to enact this.

X also says that those who confirm their ID “may receive additional benefits” in future, including faster checkmark approval, and the ability to change your profile details (photo and display name) without losing your blue tick till the X team reviews every such update.

But it does seem like X is building towards something bigger with this.

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Ideally, ID confirmation would be built into X’s verification system, so that the verification tick actually means something, other than “this person is paying us money to use the app”. It used to be that the blue tick was only allocated to notable users (at least in theory), though even then, the former Twitter team confirmed the identification of each of these users as part of the process.

That meant that you could trust that each blue tick account was a real person, at the least, but the new X Premium offering (formerly Twitter Blue) has eroded this element, so the tick itself really doesn’t mean anything much anymore.

If X were to make ID confirmation a requirement, that would also be more in line with its mission to eliminate bots, which is the stated aim of its verification system.

X owner Elon Musk maintains that paid subscriptions are the only viable pathway to defeating bots, but really, it’s ID checking that’s the core element. The challenge lies in how you facilitate such at scale, but if X were able to partner with verification organizations like au10tix in other regions, that could help to enable this, thus making its verification system a more effective process for highlighting fakes.

Implement simple ID checking, make it a requirement for all accounts, and theoretically, you could eliminate bots entirely within months, or however long it takes to confirm all active user identities.

The challenge then is in how these third-party ID checking companies get paid for their contributions. Does X pay them? Does X charge all users and forward part of that cost onto these organizations? Would the payment actually be that these organizations get more data, which is probably not the ideal arrangement?

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Maybe, if X added another, lower cost verification process, in which users were simply paying for ID confirmation, that might actually be more popular than the current X Premium system, which costs a lot for, really, not much that’s of interest to the vast majority of users.

Maybe X could charge a one-off $2 fee for ID confirmation, and add a gray checkmark to those accounts. With the added justification of eliminating bots, I suspect a lot more users would sign on, and with checkmark accounts getting priority, that would be a more effective way to combat the reach and effectiveness of bot accounts.

It’s not clear what X’s plan are, but it does feel like something more is coming here, that it does have a broader plan for ID confirmation than it just being an added bonus, for no real benefit.

We’ll have to wait and see, but it could eventually be an interesting and valuable addition.



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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