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X Introduces Government ID-Based Verification to Enhance Account Security

X, previously known as Twitter, has introduced a new government ID-based account verification system tailored for its premium users. This innovative feature aims to combat impersonation while offering various advantages, including “prioritized support.”

In collaboration with Israeli identity verification firm Au10tix, the social networking giant has implemented a pop-up for ID verification, with the possibility of Au10tix storing this data for a maximum of 30 days.

While X’s support page mentions that ID verification is accessible in many countries, it is important to note that it is not available in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and the United Kingdom. This restriction is likely due to the stringent data protection regulations governing these regions.

Currently, the ID-based verification system appears to provide limited immediate benefits. X has mentioned the potential use of this system to restrict access to certain content based on the user’s age, as determined from the ID.

X stated, “Our current emphasis is on account authentication to prevent impersonation, but we may explore additional measures, including age-appropriate content access and protection against spam and malicious accounts, to uphold the platform’s integrity and foster healthy conversations.”

Users who complete the verification process will receive a verification badge on their profiles, indicating that their government ID has been verified. However, this information can only be viewed by clicking on the blue checkmark symbol on the profile page. Additionally, X has stated that users with ID verification will receive “prioritized support from X Services,” although the specifics of this benefit remain somewhat unclear.

Interestingly, X recently introduced a feature allowing paid users to hide their verification checkmarks from their profiles. Furthermore, the company has plans to expedite the review process for checkmarks in the future for users who have verified their IDs. These users will also gain the flexibility to make frequent changes to their names, usernames, or profile photos without forfeiting their verification status.

It’s worth noting that, at present, ID-based verification is exclusively available to paid users. This decision raises questions, as X has emphasized its commitment to reducing impersonation and spam, yet verification tools are not accessible to all users.

In April, Twitter terminated its legacy verification program and removed verification checkmarks from many accounts. However, due to the ensuing confusion, the company eventually reinstated checkmarks for select accounts.

In a recent privacy policy update, X disclosed its ability to collect users’ biometric data, education, and job history, citing this as a means to link accounts to real individuals by processing their government-issued IDs. X believes that this additional information will help thwart impersonation attempts and enhance the overall security of the platform.

Elon Musk’s X Tackles Shadowbanning Transparency Challenges on Social Platform

Elon Musk, the owner of X, has pledged to address the issue of “shadowbanning” on the social media platform that was previously known as Twitter. Shadowbanning refers to the practice of making changes to a user’s content so that it is not widely circulated and remains hidden from public view, without outright banning the user. Responding to users on X, Musk apologized for the delay in resolving this matter and elaborated on the challenges that X is currently facing in providing transparency about shadowbanning.

The concept of shadowbanning has raised concerns since Twitter’s early days, as users were unaware that their tweets were being restricted in this manner. When shadowbanned, users can continue posting on the platform as usual, but their tweets receive limited engagement and responses compared to their regular activity. This issue has often been a subject of political debate, with figures like Trump and other Republicans claiming that Twitter was suppressing their tweets.

Upon assuming control of Twitter, Musk endeavored to demonstrate that shadowbanning was a widespread practice on the platform. He released certain information to the public, though this mainly provided a behind-the-scenes view of the intricate process of moderating social media content.

Despite this, Musk has stressed the importance of informing users if they have been shadowbanned. During the Viva Tech conference, he mentioned that X was working on a solution to inform users about any impact on their accounts within the Twitter system.

In a recent tweet, Musk delved into the complexity of the issue, expressing frustration with the numerous layers of “trust & safety” software that contribute to prolonged investigations into suspended or shadowbanned accounts. He announced a ground-up rewrite of the codebase to simplify this process.

However, Musk’s explanation did not fully clarify the challenges facing X’s current endeavor. A more detailed understanding was provided by Yoel Roth, the former Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter, in a post on the decentralized Twitter alternative, Bluesky.

Roth acknowledged the validity of Musk’s statements, despite their somewhat convoluted nature. He began by explaining that social media platforms typically maintain records of banned users and the reasons for their bans. Initially, these records might be in the form of a spreadsheet or Google Doc, particularly for smaller companies. As the platform expands, this information is often integrated into metadata directly linked to user accounts.

Roth highlighted that Twitter still employs a system of free-text notes attached to user accounts to store enforcement-related metadata. He noted that this approach was retained due to prioritizing other tasks, despite the challenges of programmatically parsing such free-text notes. These notes, while understandable by humans, are not easily structured for automated communication with users about their account status.

Roth concurred that revising the code governing enforcement attribution was a prudent step and was in progress before Twitter’s acquisition. The implementation was originally planned for this year. He playfully speculated whether the delays might have been caused by Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the subsequent organizational changes.

Roth elaborated on the complexity X faces, particularly in dealing with the infrastructure that addresses spam. He acknowledged that while this complexity is necessary to combat spam effectively, it makes pinpointing the exact cause of a user’s shadowban challenging.

Concluding his observations, Roth expressed his support for Twitter’s infrastructure overhaul and wished them success. He humorously mentioned leaving documents about the process in his Google Drive at the company.

Considering the intricate challenges described by Roth, it seems unlikely that X will promptly implement the technology to display users’ account status, as promised, unless the project had been reprioritized earlier.

X Shifts to Like-Based Post Sorting for Logged Out Users

X, formerly recognized as Twitter, has recently implemented a significant alteration to the way posts are displayed when users are logged out. Instead of the traditional chronological order, posts are now arranged based on their like counts, marking a departure from the previous approach. While posts, previously referred to as tweets, continue to appear in a time-based sequence when users are logged into the platform, the sorting mechanism shifts to performance metrics when users are logged out.

This noteworthy adjustment was initially noticed by 9to5Google, raising intrigue and speculation among users and observers alike. The alteration entails that posts are organized according to the number of likes they have garnered, rather than the number of views they have received. This has led to situations where posts with higher view counts but comparatively fewer likes are positioned lower in users’ feeds. This unexpected change has led to some intriguing dynamics, particularly as it can lead to previously well-liked posts from years ago resurfacing at the top of users’ feeds, potentially overshadowing more recent content.

Interestingly, the new sorting methodology has garnered attention for its propensity to elevate popular posts while subduing newer and more current content. Even posts that have been pinned to the top of a user’s profile do not enjoy prominence in the feed when that user is logged out. This has sparked debate about the efficacy of pinning posts in light of this new sorting strategy.

The motivation behind X’s decision to adopt this approach remains shrouded in mystery. Speculation abounds, with one possibility being that X is wagering on the idea that presenting logged-out users with highly popular posts upfront may encourage them to follow the account or even consider signing up for the service. This strategy aims to leverage the allure of well-received content to entice potential new users.

X’s recent transformations have been closely tied to the leadership of Elon Musk, who assumed control of the company in the preceding year. In another development this morning, the social networking platform introduced X Pro, a formerly known product as TweetDeck, as a subscription-based offering. This decision aligns with the company’s prior announcement in June that TweetDeck’s accessibility would be restricted to verified users in the near future. This ongoing evolution underscores X’s dynamic strategy under its new leadership.

Elon Musk’s X Aims From Social Media to Stock Trading Platform

Elon Musk’s ambitious vision for X, previously known as Twitter, involves transforming it into a multifaceted platform, including the potential for stock trading. Reports suggest that the company has reached out to fintech firms to explore the development of this feature, although no financial commitment has been made at this time, according to Semafor.

Ever since Musk expressed interest in taking over Twitter last year, he has been contemplating adding various features to create an all-encompassing “everything app” for users to accomplish a multitude of tasks.

Musk drew inspiration from WeChat, a Chinese app that successfully integrates various functionalities, and he also revisited a similar concept he once pursued with his venture X.com, founded over two decades ago. Though Musk was ousted as CEO, and the company later evolved into PayPal, now with the acquisition of Twitter, he sees an opportunity to revisit the idea.

Since assuming control of Twitter, Musk has introduced features like “cashtag,” which allows users to view live stock charts by using the “$” symbol before ticker names, powered by Trading View, a data startup. Additionally, plans were announced to enable users to buy and sell stocks within the platform using eToro, a competitor of the popular trading and investing app Robinhood. However, this feature is yet to be implemented, and under its new branding, the company is now approaching financial data giants to create a trading hub within X.

According to the Semafor report, X is positioning itself as a platform capable of reaching “hundreds of millions of highly qualified users,” but it is not committing funds to build this hub. Instead, the company is inquiring about the level of commitment that fintech companies are willing to make for the project. Whether any firms have responded to this inquiry remains uncertain.

Integrating financial services with social media platforms is not a new idea in Silicon Valley, with attempts by companies like Snap and Meta in the past. However, such efforts have not always been successful, except for limited cases like payments in WhatsApp. Musk believes that by offering integrated services within X, the platform’s user base could potentially quadruple to a billion people. This could also open up a new revenue stream through brokerage from stock transactions, especially since advertisers have been somewhat elusive.

Musk may find encouragement in Apple’s recent offering of a savings account, which attracted deposits of a billion dollars in just four days. Even a small percentage of Musk’s 151 million followers using X as a trading platform could result in significant brokerage revenue every month.

However, unlike Apple, which has earned trust over many years, Musk’s frequent changes and Twitter’s instability have driven some users away. To succeed, X must rebuild trust and effectively highlight its advantages over existing tools that users have grown accustomed to in recent months.