X’s New Strategy: Implementing ID Verification to Combat Impersonation

In an effort to quash rampant impersonation, X is developing a new ID verification feature—a timely move after the disorder surrounding the Twitter Blue launch.

Months after impersonation incidents jeopardized its initial plans for paid verification, X is now redoubling its efforts to secure user authenticity. The platform is reportedly developing an ID verification system, requiring users to upload a government-issued ID and a selfie—a strategy aimed at ensuring a more genuine user experience.

According to app researcher Nima Owji, who has a reputation for discovering yet-to-be-released features in various applications, the new feature was spotted earlier this month. Owji unveiled a screenshot depicting an “ID-verified” badge on Elon Musk’s profile, coupled with an in-app message detailing the verification process. The message stated, “Verify your account by providing a government-issued ID. This usually takes about 5 minutes,” further explaining that users must provide both a photo ID and a selfie.

This ID verification process appears to be a collaboration between X and third-party “identity intelligence” company Au10tix. The feature’s fine print reveals that information submitted for verification will be accessible by both Au10tix and X. The former boasts cutting-edge technology that offers “8-second verification without even partial human involvement” and has detected “synthetic fraud patterns globally.” With a track record that includes partnerships with industry leaders like Google, PayPal, and Uber, Au10tix’s involvement adds credibility to the process.

Interestingly, X’s policy stipulates that “ID images, including biometric data, will be retained for up to 30 days” and will be utilized “for the purposes of safety and security, including preventing impersonation.”

The company did not respond to requests for comment regarding this initiative. However, the development suggests a committed effort by X to enhance its platform’s integrity. Currently, X bestows verified status to those subscribing to X Premium (previously known as Twitter Blue), without conducting any direct identity checks.

Though the platform has implemented some protective measures like the verified organization’s feature, it has not been completely immune to impersonators. Verification badges have been exploited by scammers, notably crypto scammers, who have leveraged the added visibility from X premium subscriptions to promote their fraudulent posts.

While it remains uncertain whether optional identity checks will completely eradicate these challenges, this new feature could be a significant step forward. By making it more challenging for scammers and impersonators to hide behind anonymity, X is sending a clear signal that it is actively working to preserve the integrity of its platform.

The endeavor is certainly ambitious and places X at the forefront of a growing movement toward enhanced online authenticity. How it will be received by users and what impact it will have on the broader digital landscape remain exciting questions for the tech community. As it inches closer to an official launch, both consumers and industry watchers will be keen to see how this feature shapes the future of verification and online identity.