As you can see in this screenshot, posted by X News Daily, U.K.-based X Premium subscribers will now also have the option to confirm their ID, by providing an image of their government-issued identification documents, which can include a license, passport, basically any government-provided document with your photo on it.
Provide that to X, and third-party verification partner Au10tix, and you’ll qualify for an extra verification element, with a new “ID Verified” marker in addition to the blue checkmark.
Because the blue checkmark, in itself, is now meaningless for this purpose, as the X team is not confirming ID documents in the X Premium sign-up process.
It used to. The former Twitter team used to require at least some form of qualification for the tick, which is why it’s called “verification”. But in its race to make subscriptions a bigger revenue stream, X has abandoned this element, instead banking on the fact that only real humans will be able to provide a credit card and a mobile phone number to attach to each “verified” profile.
But its new partnership with Au10tix could better enable X to actually confirm the ID of more users, which could work towards one of X owner Elon Musk’s key goals, in negating the proliferation of bot accounts.
Elon made battling bots a key focus in his X takeover, by conducting his own research into the presence of bots in the app before he took ownership of the platform late last year.
Based on his team’s analysis, Musk claimed that around 20% of profiles in the app were actually bots, though since he’s taken over, he’s made no mention of this stat, instead noting that X’s active user count has continued to rise, despite the fact that a significant proportion of those users, by his own admission, are likely bots, which, at different times, he also claims to have defeated.
So either X has grown at an astronomical rate, and replaced those 20% of bot profiles with real human users, while also adding more new users on top of that. Or bots are still a problem in the app.
I’m guessing it’s the latter, because Musk is still trying to implement new schemes to combat bots, which suggests that they’re still signing up.
Also, X claims to be seeing 1.5 million new account sign-ups every day, which would equate to around 45 million new users in the app every month. Yet X had 540 million monthly actives in July (according to Musk), and it has 500 million now.
Yeah, there’s some odd cross-matching there.
Mathematical anomalies aside, X’s partnership with Au10tix does have potential, in enabling X to verify actual human users, without massive labor load on its own staff, which, given its various cuts, it likely can’t undertake on its own.
Au10tix apparently supports document verification in over 190 countries/regions, so it could grow into a broad-reaching partnership, that would help to fulfill X’s goal of authenticating more users, and thus, combating bots.
The only problem is, X isn’t, at this stage at least, looking to implement this ID confirmation option on a broader scale, or in isolation from X Premium.
Which, presumably, is because by pushing people to sign up to X Premium, that will also bring in additional revenue. But then again, after App Store taxes and processing fees, X is unlikely to generate much additional income from its $1 to post initiative that it’s currently testing in New Zealand and the Philippines.
Which makes it a little unclear what its real plan is here, but essentially, X could look to use this program to confirm the identity of all of its users, or at least a lot of them, for a minimal fee. That seems like a more viable path forward for verifying that each profile represents an actual person, but again, X is seemingly not looking to make this an individual element, preferring instead to have it nestled into its X Premium subscription package.
So, if you pay $8 per month, you can confirm your ID via this process.
But if you’re already paying $8 per month, then by X’s logic, you’re already a human anyway. So you wouldn’t need it?
It does seem like something’s been lost in translation here, and I assume that part of it is because Au10tix also needs to get paid for its verification services, which could be part of the reason why only paying users can access this feature at present.
But it does seem to belie the premise, as Elon keeps saying, that payments are the only way to combat bot peddlers.
It seems like this could actually be another option, which makes it seem like the payments element is a key part of the broader vision here.
In any event, in isolation from X Premium, this could be a valuable, viable initiative to verify that more X users are actual humans. But as it currently stands, I’m not really sure why anyone would bother.