Twitter suddenly decided to offer verified account in order to avoid impersonations and the associated problems. However, Twitter is only offering these accounts to select few like celebrities, musicians, athletes, actors, public officials, etc.. In short, it is not for ordinary joes, at least for the time being. Twitter gives the following reason for this.
We’re starting with well-known accounts that have had problems with
impersonation or identity confusion. (For example, well-known artists,
athletes, actors, public officials, and public agencies). We may verify
more accounts in the future, but because of the cost and time required,
we’re only testing this feature with a small set of folks for the time
being. As the test progresses we may be able to expand this test to
more accounts over the next several months.
Unlike Facebook, which allowed early access for select individuals/organizations without any valid explanation, Twitter is trying to explain away the class hierarchy forming in the Twitter-o-sphere with a vague reasoning. I really don’t understand why Twitter cannot automate the verification process? They could either use a verification based on link back from a domain name of individuals or through a SMS code or using a verification call to user’s telephone or by asking an user to add a chunk of code in their website, etc.. In the worst case, they could have partnered with OpenID providers like ClaimID to do the verification. In short, there are many ways to automate the verification process instead of doing it the old fashioned manual verification process. This approach will not scale well and we are going to end up with select few getting their profiles protected from impersonations while others wait for their term to come in the due course or hope that they become overnight celebrities somehow.
I definitely understand the importance of Verified Accounts but I just can’t understand the logic behind Twitter’s approach to verification. While the lesser mortals in us wait and fight the impersonators who also cause havoc in our lives, “celebrities” are getting verified without even a verification process.