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Twitter verification: will it be happening in 2021?



PC displaying Twitter website
Twitter has over 350 million monthly active users

The blue verified badge on Twitter has been an exclusive checkmark for users, brands or organizations considered notable and influential. The aim of this badge was to provide an authenticity check and has been an area of public interest since 2009, three years after the platform was launched in 2006.

However, in 2017, a message on @verified, a Twitter account with over 3 Million followers dedicated about verification on the social platform, made clear that a new authentication and verification program was on the way. They added that, in the meantime, Twitter would not be accepting any public submissions for verification.

Since then, a lot has changed around the world!

A rare albino panda was spotted in China; Queen Elizabeth II posted for the first time on Instagram; Donald Trump was voted out of the US White House; a Banksy artwork immediately “self-destructed” itself after being sold at auction for $1.4 million; a donated kidney was delivered by drone and used in a successful transplant surgery in the US, and a pandemic brought the world to an unimaginable standstill.

However, the Twitter verification process still remains a mystery. It remains without further changes despite all the changes that have happened in the world.

A rare tweet was posted in 2018, but this only reminded users that the company had paused public submissions for verification. It took a good couple of years until, late in 2020, a blog entry was posted on Twitter’s blog. Twitter announced that they were planning to bring back the long-awaited public verification program in 2021.

Over four months into a new year that seems, somehow, a bit similar to 2020, Twitter is still yet to unveil how users will be able to submit verification requests in the 21st century.

So far, we know that the social platform, which boasts over 350 million monthly active users, intends to ‘clean’ the house with a brand-new policy. They will more clearly define what verification means and why some accounts might lose verification. In January, the social media platform sent out notifications to those already verified, urging them to comply with the changes before January 22nd, 2021. The notifications featured clear policies regarding online hate and spreading misleading information – with repeated rule violations leading to verification removal and, in certain cases, the entire account being banned from the platform. Yes, former US president Donald Trump’s account being permanently deleted from Twitter, after allegedly using the site to incite further violence, following the storming of Capitol Hill in January, happened while users were waiting for the updated verification process to return.

Page of Twitter verification to be launched later in 2021

How will it work?

After asking for public feedback to help shape how the company handles verification requests moving forward – a smart move given that it was put on hold due to a lack of public clarity and controversially verifying white supremacists in the US – The San Francisco-based company has put in place a revised guideline. This guideline adds journalists to the ‘news’ category and includes digital content creators under the “Entertainment” category. Measuring the minimum follower count requirement will no longer be on a per-country basis but on a per-region basis. This decision was made to help make our follower count requirements less susceptible to spam and more equitable across geographies.

According to an official blog post by Twitter in December, the process seems to be very similar to how Instagram already allows people to apply for a blue check via the settings within the app. With Instagram, you have to confirm your real name, choose a category to apply under and submit an official document as a proof of identity, all without leaving the app.


How to apply for verification in 2021

Relaunch of public applications for verification in 2021 will be through a new, self-serve application process that will be available on the Account Settings page on the web and in-app.

The process will include asking applicants to select a category for their verified status and confirming their identity via links and other supporting materials. Twitter plans to use both automated and human review processes to ensure that they are reviewing applications thoughtfully and in a timely manner. The plans also include giving users the option to share demographic information after completing the new verification application to enhance the equity of its verification process. However, the exact date about when the verification submission area of the platform will be active is still to be confirmed.

Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, Producer and Influencer Marketing Manager working with brands and publications in Europe, America and Asia.


How to earn a YouTube Creator Award plaque?



A gold and silver YouTube plaques on display
Genshin Impact, a game channel with 7 million subscribers, received a second YouTube plaque in 2021.

Since its launch in 2015, YouTube has amassed millions of views on content uploaded to the Google-owned platform every single minute. And the creators behind the diverse array of content are often recognized by the world’s leading video-sharing platform for milestone achievements. Enter the YouTube Creator Award plaque, an exclusive reward system featuring plaques of different categories and tiers that content creators regularly uploading to the platform can receive.

So, what are these coveted plaques, and what to do to earn a YouTube Creator Award plaque?

YouTube Creator Award plaques are divided into distinct categories, each representing a specific achievement level in number of subscribers to a channel. According to the official YouTube Creators page, those who “pour their heart and soul into their videos” are celebrated once they reach Creator Award subscriber milestones.

YouTube Creator Award categories

Silver Creator Award

The Silver Creator Award is the initial milestone, awarded to creators upon reaching 100,000 subscribers. Around 321,000 channels available on YouTube have 100,000 subscribers or more.

Gold Creator Award

The Gold Creator Award is a coveted accolade presented to creators who achieve one million subscribers. It is a remarkable milestone and a substantial impact within the YouTube community, as well as possible earnings.

Diamond Creator Award

Reserved for the crème de la crème, the Diamond Creator Award is offered to creators who achieve 10 million subscribers – not an easy task. The category was first introduced in 2015 when YouTube unveiled the YouTube Diamond award at VidCon.

But don’t start to plan where you will hang your award so soon.

Like all other previous categories, Creator Awards are given at YouTube’s sole discretion and the platform only recognizes creators that have played by the rules. Channels are subject to review before awards are issued. That means that only creators that keep their accounts in good standing without copyright strikes, community guideline violations or artificially increased subscriber counts, among other criteria, are likely to get one of these plaques.

You don’t have to be a member of the YouTube Partner Programme (YPP) to be eligible for an award. But, besides fully complying with the platform’s strict guidelines, to get the award a channel must be active (has uploads within the last six months prior to reaching a milestone), and creators can’t have an active Community Guidelines violation, and haven’t received any in the last 365 days.

How to claim a YouTube Creator plaque

If a YouTube channel reach the threshold to be eligible to silver, gold or diamond award, the channel’s owner will get a notification via the Creator Studio within one week of passing a Creator Awards milestone. The notification will include a unique redemption code that the content creator will need to enter on YouTube’s redemption portal, including informing YouTube about the channel name and delivery information.

Once all steps are completed, YouTube will then begin handcrafting the Creator Award. Depending on where in the world the channel owner lives, YouTube estimates that it can take up to four weeks to build and dispatch a Creator Award.

500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute worldwide – Source: Oberlo | Photo: Mikhail Nilov

In 2022 YouTube commemorated 10 years of its awards with a mini exhibition, highlighting the evolution of YouTube Awards. The awards themselves may have gone through some design changes, but is remains a symbol of a creator’s accomplishment, including not only a sizeable number of followers, but also a recognition for countless hours of time, effort and creativity that went goes developing content, growing a channel and actively engaging with viewers on the platform.

YouTube had more than 2.70 billion active users as of 2023, including 80 million Premium active users worldwide. However, although receiving a YouTube reward plaque is a testament to a creator’s dedication, talent, and impact within the online community, it is important that any online channel spend times focusing more on content quality than numbers or prizes made of metal.

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Social media research threatened by new data limitations



The EU Digital Services Act, which came into effect in August 2023, will provide vetted researchers with access to large online platforms | Photo: Robin Worral

Academics around the world have warned of a threat to scientific research as major social media platforms limit access to user data.

Over the course of 2023, numerous social media platforms including X (formerly known as Twitter), TikTok, and Reddit made substantial changes to their Application Programming Interfaces, known as APIs.

Researchers have routinely tapped APIs for large-scale data on social media users into behavioural patterns at individual, group, and population levels. This work has included predicting where conflict may occur and allocating disaster aid; and understanding the impacts of online polarization or misinformation on voting patterns.

However, the changes to APIs have led to data access being drastically reduced, or becoming more costly due to increased charges, meaning that this kind of research is now much harder to conduct. It also inadvertently impacts app developers who have built their service on this source of information.

A new study outlining the implications of changes to how data is extracted and shared within and across social media platforms has been published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Dr Dirk van der Linden from Northumbria’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences was one of the contributors to the study. Dr van der Linden is part of Northumbria’s Social Computing (NorSC) group, which studies social technology and the idea that designing it requires critically understanding the people that use it, the ways in which they live and interact with one another, and the impacts that it can have on our behaviours and interactions with the world.

“It is ever more important to be able to study what is happening on social media networks, as so much of our lives are lived online”, says van der Linden. “It’s already complicated for scientists to deal with an increasingly fragmented landscape of different social media networks in use today, where much of the data is inherently ephemeral. But when the networks controlling this data further complicate matters with more restrictive terms and conditions, we risk running into situations where research skirts the borders of what is ethical, or worse (depending on your point of view), not done at all.”

The research team on the study, which was led by the University of Bath, said that the changes are adversely affecting academics who want to study the impact of social media on mental health, misinformation, political views and more.

“It’s critical that research on people and society can access these large-scale data sets as there can be policy implications and far-reaching consequences if we get it wrong,” said Dr Brit Davidson, from the University of Bath’s School of Management.

“Over time, we have many cases of where the lack of open science (sharing data, analysis, materials) impacts our ability to verify and check for science credibility. We’ve seen science discredited, which causes concern as to whether work can be reproduced or replicated.”

However, there are instances where changes to API access is necessary. For example, the Cambridge Analytica Scandal in 2018 led social media platforms to implement strict measures to prevent third-party users from gaining access to personal data without consent. They then enabled users to revoke app permissions, which gave users more control over their data to protect user privacy.

The EU Digital Services Act, which came into effect in August 2023, aims to provide vetted researchers with access to ‘very large online platforms’, with similar updates to GDPR Article 40. However, researchers are still waiting to hear more about what vetting means in practice and the conditions of using the data.

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X app may lose up to $75 million in advertising revenue in 2023



A man holding a phone displaying the social media app X, formerly Twitter.
Twitter, rebranded as X, was acquired by Elon Musk in 2022 for $44 billion | Photo: Julian Christ

Elon Musk’s next-generation craft reached space for the first time on November 18th. But when it comes to the digital world, Musk-owned social media platform X, formerly Twitter, could lose as much as $75 million in advertising revenue by the end of 2023, the New York Times has reported on Friday.

The entrepreneur backing an antisemitic post on the platform last week has led several companies including content giants Walt Disney and Warner Bros Discovery to pause their advertisements on the site – and these were not the only ones.

According to the New York Times, Internal X documents reviewed by the publication reportedly showed more than 200 ad units of major brands such as Airbnb, IBM, Coca-Cola and Microsoft that have either halted or considered pausing ad spending on the platform recently. On Friday X said that a whopping $11 million in revenue was at risk and the exact figure fluctuated due to some advertisers returning to the platform and others increasing their spending, according to the report by the Times.

After the backlash, Elon Musk said that X Corp. will donate any revenue the social media platform generates from advertising and subscriptions linked to the war in Gaza to hospitals in Israel as well as to the Red Cross in Gaza.

This is not the first time revenue at X had revenue worries in the past few months, with Reuters previously reporting that X’s ad revenue has declined at least 55% year-over-year each month since Musk’s takeover.

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