X Blue users will need to send selfie, data to Israeli software company

Subscription users of X, formerly Twitter, will need to send a selfie and copy of ID to an Israeli verification company.

The new logo of Twitter is displayed on an iPhone in Galway, Ireland [File: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters]

X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, will now require X Blue users to submit a selfie alongside a photo of a government-issued ID, according to a report by PC Magazine.

The user’s personal information required by the verification process will be handled by Israeli company AU10TIX software which will store the information for up to 30 days.

X said the data collected from a user’s profile will be used “for the purpose of safety and security, including preventing impersonation”.

Many X users were unhappy with the choice of the company to store user data, pointing out its employees’ links to Israeli intelligence. Others expressed their discomfort with giving a company their data when so many data breaches have been reported in the past.

AU10TIX helped to create the identity verification systems for airports and border controls in the 1980s and 90s before expanding, with the growth of the internet, into what it describes as “digital spaces” in 2002. It now boasts several high-profile clients such as Uber, PayPal and Google.

Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter in October 2022, appeared to have completed ID verification on August 1, suggesting that the ID verification system is already operational and could therefore appear publicly soon.

Musk’s shake-up leads to verification issues

Monthly subscription fees were imposed on verified Twitter users in November 2022.

Verification was then extended to any account with a verified phone number and an active subscription to an eligible Twitter Blue plan.

On April 1, Twitter announced it would begin removing its legacy verification programme and removing legacy verified checkmarks.

These changes led to fears that impersonation would be easier on the platform and hand false credibility to accounts that spread misinformation.

In response, the platform, introduced gold and grey checkmarks, used by verified organisations and government-affiliated accounts, respectively.

In July 2023, Musk announced that Twitter would be rebranded as X.

The latest X verification process, which requires a selfie and a government-issued ID, is part of a drive to add an additional layer of security against impersonation and fraud.

Source: Al Jazeera