Want to get verified on X? You may soon need a selfie with an ID

The social media platform is reportedly seeking to combat impostors with new security features

X has teamed up with Israel-based third-party identity intelligence company Au10tix for the verification feature. AFP
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X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, is now working on new identity verification features in a bid to combat impersonation, according to reports.

The new features require users to upload a copy of their government-issued ID and take a selfie, an independent app researcher said.

Users seeking to verify their identity on the Elon Musk-owned platform will also require a device with a working, uncovered camera, according to a screenshot of the ID verification process shared by Nima Owji.

The process will take about five minutes, according to a screenshot of the ID verification process that he shared. There is also a feature to hide the ID verification badge.

The fine print suggests X has teamed up with Israel-based third-party identity intelligence company Au10tix for the verification feature.

X will store images of the user’s ID as well as their biometric data on its servers for up to 30 days and will use the information “for the purposes of safety and security, including preventing impersonation”.

The data will be shared with Au10tix for the purpose of confirming the user’s identity.

Mr Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of the San Francisco-based microblogging platform last October and has made a series of changes since.

The platform used to place a blue tick next to an account’s user name to denote it was genuine.

Old rules stipulated users could receive a blue tick if they provided links to an official website, a photo of a valid official government-issued identification document or an official email address.

In December, Twitter relaunched Twitter Blue, the platform’s top-tier account, which indicates a user is verified, as a paid subscription service.

The premium feature’s fees started at $8 a month for individuals, with joiners receiving subscriber-only features including Edit Tweet, 1080p video uploads, reader mode, the coveted blue check mark and longer tweets.

The costs of keeping the ticks start at $1,000 a month for organisations, plus $50 monthly for each affiliate or employee account.

The social media platform then rebranded as X last month. Right now, X offers verified status to anyone paying for an X Premium (formerly known as Twitter Blue) subscription. Users have to pay $8 for a verified checkmark.

However, this resulted in the platform being filled with fake accounts. Impersonation is a concern for many famous users as anyone who pays a subscription can now have a verified blue tick.

Celebrities on Twitter had warned their followers about impersonators as the deadline for the verified blue tick loomed.

Mr Owji, who often uncovers unreleased features in X, first spotted an “ID verified” badge on Mr Musk’s profile on August 1.

Now he has discovered an in-app message detailing how verification works, which could mean the feature may be nearing an official launch.

ID verification will be an optional feature for Premium users and it will not be required to use X, according to Community Notes on the platform.

However, it remains to be seen how many X users will be willing to share this amount of personal information with the service.

"Not sure how much this will help with scams. All it will do is create a black market for fully verified accounts on places like Telegram. It is already common for most services," X user ZachXBT said.

Meanwhile, Mr Musk on Friday said the “block” feature on X will soon no longer be available for users.

The world's wealthiest person said “block is going to be deleted as a 'feature', except for DMs”, or direct messages, which is how users can privately send messages to each other, similar to other platforms.

Mr Musk said users would “still be able to mute accounts and block users” from direct messaging.

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Updated: August 20, 2023, 11:36 AM