Twitter's Unusual Way of Saying "Prove It, Buddy!" with Government IDs

Twitter, also known as "X" these days, has recently done something that has us all scratching our brains. They've launched a beautiful new account verification system, but hold on to those blue checkmarks because there's a catch. It's only for individuals with premium tastes—yes, paid subscribers. If you pay for Twitter, you'll get a special treat: a pop-up that says, "Hey there, wanna prove you exist?"

This pop-up gently nudges you to sign up for something they call "ID verification." Sounds thrilling, right? And the best part is, it only takes about five minutes. Just five minutes of your life to prove to Twitter that you're not a figment of your imagination.

But why, you might ask? Twitter argues that this entire ID system is in place to safeguard accounts from "impersonation" and to "increase the overall integrity and trust on our platform." Nothing says "trustworthy," like giving a social media platform your government-issued ID.

Just to give you some context, this comes hot on the heels of Elon Musk, Twitter's owner, deciding that anyone who coughs up for Twitter Blue, or what's now fondly known as X Premium, can have a blue checkmark. That's right; you get a blue checkmark and a blue checkmark—everyone gets a blue checkmark! But it seems that granting the power of blue verification to the masses might have prompted Twitter to tighten the reins a little.

So, let us return to our ID verification experience. Twitter is asking its paid customers to do something that would make any privacy-conscious person sweat harder than a Thanksgiving turkey. They want to see your government-issued ID. That small piece of paper with all of your personal information on it. Is it really such a huge deal?

But wait, there's more! Twitter isn't satisfied with just a photo of your ID. They're also after your biometrics. Yep, they want a live selfie, too. And what are they planning to do with your selfie, you ask? They've brought in the experts—a third-party Israeli company called Au10tix. These folks will work their magic and compare your facial data from your government ID and your live selfie. And all this in the name of verifying your identity.

Don't worry; they won't store your valuable info indefinitely. Twitter's amended privacy policy states they will only keep your information for up to 30 days. So, you have a month to decide whether you want Twitter to keep your digital doppelganger.

But here's the kicker, the pièce de résistance. If you decide to take the plunge and verify your account, Twitter promises to label your ID verification with a big, shiny badge. You'll get the virtual equivalent of a "Verified by Twitter" gold star. And as if that's not enticing enough, you'll also receive "prioritized support." Yes, you heard that right. Twitter will be at your beck and call, ready to assist you faster than you can say "tweet."

In all seriousness, Twitter's decision to implement an ID-based verification method raises some legitimate privacy and user consent concerns. The delicate balance between improving user safety and protecting privacy is complex, and Twitter is taking the stage for the first time with this performance. As social media platforms evolve, the ongoing debate over data privacy and user consent becomes more critical.

So, to all you premium Twitter users out there, go ahead and prove your existence if you're up for it. After all, Twitter wants to know you're not just a well-crafted bot with a penchant for witty one-liners. And who knows, that blue checkmark might just be the icing on your Twitter cake, or perhaps it's just Twitter's saying, "Nice try, robot overlords, but we've got our eyes on you!"

H/T: Techcrunch

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