Twitter’s cheating problem is not too difficult to solve

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With every element associated with Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter under constant scrutiny, there’s been no shortage of headlines related to the social media giant over the past few months. Twitter has had a tumultuous few months under its new ownership; there have been layoffs (and re-hirings); change the user experience; and of course, Twitter is working tirelessly to fix — and monetize — its user verification system.

When it first launched in November, Twitter Blue — originally touted as a revenue generator for the social media platform — quickly took an unexpected turn, involving people from LeBron James ARRIVE Lockheed Martin. Twitter pranksters took the opportunity to pay $8 for verification and immediately began impersonating public figures and brands, posting obscene and loud messages on Twitter. businesses cost billions.

Since then, the company has retooled its Twitter Blue system, creating new verification badges designed to protect companies and governments from impostors, and a labeling system that reveals type. verification that the user has. There is a waiting period for new accounts who want to sign up for Twitter Blue, as well as a requirement for a mobile phone number. It was enough to stop the rapid fraud frenzy the company faced in November, but still not enough to stop a identify the impostor.

Blue check mark is not always verified

Twitter’s struggle with user verification shows how vulnerable the online world is to phishing. If a few bored individuals can rock the stock market with just a phone number and an email address, imagine what a few organized bad guys can do. It’s not a risk Twitter – or the economy – can afford to do.


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The pay-to-play verification problem is almost a self-made trap for social media companies, those with a blue check mark may be the most effective digital knowledge tool ever. developed over the past decade.

After years of tweaking, web users assume that the blue check comes with a degree of verification behind it, even if the steps behind that verification process are a bit vague. Under Twitter’s old leadership, the blue checkmark was even more than a verification; it’s authentic, and losing the blue check is often a reduced punishment for extremists and individuals deemed to have violated Twitter’s policies.

If Musk and Twitter want to reimagine the world of social media verification, they must do so by starting to rethink the verification process and changing their understanding of what Twitter Blue is and what it is. what could be. Verification is not merely the state you pay for, but the state the user is paying to prove.

Sacrificing security for experience

According to the latest Twitter Blue update, Twitter is treating the verification process like a transaction; customers are buying an item and Twitter needs to get it into their hands and into their account as quickly as possible. They want a frictionless customer experiencebut the result is sacrificing security.

It’s a familiar concern — if the process takes too long or is too difficult, users may drop out and the company loses a sales opportunity. That is why web optimization services are in such high demand.

But Twitter isn’t the first company to need digital identity verification. For example, the financial services industry faces strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations and still manages to regulate digital integration, often using combines biometrics and a physical ID card to match a real person with a government-issued ID. Crucially, many banks can now verify users in minutes, if not seconds.

In fact, after the pandemic, more consumers are used to these forms of identity verification than ever before. Virtual identity verification is no longer a strange concept to individuals or businesses, as the pandemic has forced hundreds of companies to identify methods to build trust with customers while ensuring secure their systems from fraud. From banking to car rentals to online shopping, there are dozens of use cases already in the market that Twitter Blue can emulate on its own.

Of course, the level of proof banks need before allowing customers to open checking accounts may not be what Twitter needs or wants for the majority of its users. While a full identity check might be the go-to method for someone trying to set up a Twitter account claiming to be a political candidate or CEO, it may not be the solution needed for an account. popular memes.

This is where Twitter has an opportunity to break new ground when it comes to verifying social media and identifying other fraud signals that can both seamlessly determine legitimacy and maintain values. regarding privacy and security. It is an area where the growing trend towards digital wallet and identity can be used — allowing Twitter to view certain logins for the sake of account legitimacy, while maintaining the level of anonymity that has made Twitter such an effective tool for dialogue society.

With a new verification system comes new forms of fraud — untapped and untested. Twitter Blue might work—but only if there’s real verification behind it.

Yuelin Li is the product manager of onfidooversee product, design and strategy.

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