Twitter has once again put their foot in it over their annoying “verification” system — you know, the deal where certain users get a ‘prestigious’ blue check mark next to their name. To what purpose, I don’t know. Anyway, they handed out a precious Blue Check Mark to a known Nazi, the guy who organized the Charlottesville debacle, and suddenly everyone was questioning the invisible criteria they use to give these things out, and Twitter suspended the whole process while they review what the heck they’re doing.
I think xkcd explains it best.
Ouch. That’s a mark that’s gotta sting.
Brian Pansky says
It’s supposed to mean that the person is who they say they are, not an imposter.
Presumably inadvertently, poopyhead didn’t give any link to the story, e.g., Twitter says its system is ‘broken’ after far-right organiser wins blue tick:
I didn’t put the above quotes inbecause, whilst I myself don’t believe it (this is twittering, a company & forum not noted for honesty!), some but not all of the claims are actually plausible for large company run by amoral money-slurping eejits (you may hear the voice of experience here). The claim I find least plausible is — to know that you must have a plausible metric, some way of measurement, which is unlikely for a large company run by amoral money-slurping eejits (you may hear the voice of experience here†).
The XKCD has is mostly right (in my opinion), but seems to presume companies such as twittering are proactive about (what seems to the eejits-in-management to be) vague or hypothetical problems. Any proactivity often seems to be last-minute panic; reactivity-after-first-denying seems vastly more common.
† The most recent example I have of a lack of metrics was a reorganization because of “inefficient communications” (paraphrasing). When I asked an executive what measurement they used to determine there was a problem, and that “inefficient communications” was a significant cause, the answer was. The metric to determine the success of the reorganization was (I did not get a chance to ask any follow-ups).
Tabby Lavalamp says
Brian Pansky @1
It’s more than that though. If it weren’t, there would be a lot more verified users. From Twitter themselves…
So there is not just a degree of elitism in getting verified, but at some point in the process someone has to make the decision that an account is of “public interest” or not, which is why there are some very weird disparities between who does and doesn’t get the check mark.
The writer, Charlton Ogburn Jr., presumably writing about his experience in the US Army:
We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. Presumably the plans for our employment were being changed. I was to learn later in life that, perhaps because we are so good at organizing, we tend as a nation to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.
A modified version is often, apparently, misattributed to Petronius the Arbiter.
We trained hard … but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.
Or, that’s what the wiki says.
jrkrideau@4, Thanks for the Charlton Ogburn Jr quote (from the Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge) — that does seem to describe (from a high altitude) a lot of the “reorganizations” I’ve suffered through, except, perhaps, for the “good at organizing” part (taken literally).
Brian Pansky says
Ah, now the XKCD comic makes a bit more sense. The status of being “of public interest”, not the status of being who they say they are. Ditto for PZ’s comment about invisible criteria. Didn’t really compute before.
Rich Woods says
I’ve had the Petronius attribution on my office wall (well, four successive office walls — soon to be five) since 1989. Before the Age of t’Internet, even classical scholars looked at it and agreed with it.
(The quote doesn’t appear in any of Petronius’s surviving works. It’s usually attributed to a young English army officer who, in 1946, found himself acting as a minor functionary in the administration of Occupied Germany rather than the great soldier and war leader which he had dreamed of becoming but which his age and circumstances had denied him.)
It’s also worth noting that verified users have access to features other users don’t, like being able to see only verified replies to their messages and, according to a former employee, access to a separate, faster, report queue that is more heavily monitored and for which reports are given greater weight.
Am I the only one who thinks that the system makes quite a bit of sense? Twitter have no way to verify the identity of the majority of its users, and no real reson either. After all, the chance that someone should decide to create a parody account of me is rather small.
But for a small number of users, celebrities of all kinds, there are going to be imposters. So Twitter tries to verify the identities of those users, so everyone can know that the tweets from their favourite singer really is from their favourite singer. Or that the controversy over Trumps latest tweet is actually caused by Trump tweeting.