Elon Musk´s X, previously known as Twitter, is rolling out a new identity verification feature for its premium “Blue” subscribers. The move sparks discussions about online privacy and the implications of sharing personal data with third-party companies. While the specifics of X's verification process are still unfolding, it resembles other online verification systems introduced in recent years.
Blue Subscribers Need Selfie and Photo of Government-issued ID
X's new verification feature requires Blue subscribers to submit a selfie and a photo of a government-issued ID to confirm their identity. This process is expected to take approximately five minutes. The data, including biometric information, will be stored for up to 30 days and is intended to enhance “safety and security, including preventing impersonation”.
— Nima Owji (@nima_owji) August 16, 2023
Partnership with AU10TIX
To facilitate this new verification system, X has collaborated with AU10TIX, an Israeli identity verification and management company. AU10TIX claims to use advanced AI and machine learning technology to verify users within 4-8 seconds. The company has previously developed identity verification systems for airports and border controls and has expanded its services to digital spaces since 2002. Notably, AU10TIX lists major tech platforms like Google, Uber, Microsoft, and PayPal as its clients.
The choice of AU10TIX as the data handler has raised concerns among some X users due to the company's alleged ties to Israeli intelligence. Additionally, there are apprehensions about sharing personal data with a third-party company, especially in light of past data breaches.
Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter in October 2022, underwent the ID verification process on August 1, indicating that the system might soon be available to the public. Following the acquisition, several changes were introduced to the platform, including the imposition of monthly subscription fees for verified users. The platform also introduced gold and grey checkmarks for verified organizations and government-affiliated accounts, respectively. In July 2023, Musk announced the rebranding of Twitter to X.