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Twitter reopened its verification process for the first time in four years. Here's how to apply for a blue check mark.

Twitter is allowing users to reapply for blue-and-white check marks, potentially resulting in a flood of requests from people who have been asking for a badge of approval from the social media platform for years.

Twitter announced on Thursday that it will begin carrying out a new application process for the coveted identification badges, which have become a status symbol on the internet since their debut in 2009. Politicians, actors, journalists, and other public figures had previously received them, but the company stopped giving them out in 2017 when it underwent a revamp.

After nearly four years of internal and external discussion on what it means to verify identity online, Twitter, headquartered in San Francisco, has decided that the check marks are still useful to people and will be made available again.

"The blue checked badge gives users more information on who they're communicating with on Twitter," said B Byrne, a product manager at Twitter who works on the identity project.

People who want to be classified as checked on Twitter will be able to apply via their phone's app until a software update goes live, which according to the company may be as soon as Thursday for others. It could take weeks to complete the full rollout.

                                                            Image: Twitter verification process (Twitter)

According to Twitter's rules, the verification requirements are still somewhat stringent. Applicants must be well-known in fields such as government, entertainment, sports, or political advocacy, and they must follow Twitter's guidelines, which include a prohibition on glorifying violence. Twitter announced plans to extend verification to more fields later this year, including scientists, scholars, and religious leaders.

Byrne said Twitter considered loosening the requirements, perhaps allowing anyone to apply for verification, but that doing so would result in "inauthentic accounts" being checked, "and it wouldn't be a meaningful signal of something," he said.

He also mentioned that Twitter has been hiring a large number of new employees to review the applications, and that this will be done by humans rather than machines.

Twitter claims to have 199 million daily active users worldwide, with 360,000 of them confirmed.

During a high-profile security breach last year, Twitter temporarily disabled verified accounts from tweeting, and the word "blue search" has become a derogatory term in online political debates. The blue-and-white check mark has its own Facebook edition.

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