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Many expect change for various technologies, platforms, and applications. However, not many people expected the change that happened with Twitter over the last few weeks. Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass founded Twitter, a social media platform that enables users to send and receive short messages of 280 characters, known as tweets.
A Brief History of Twitter
Known for its blue and white bird logo, Twitter started small but quickly grew in popularity, adoption, and impact. The platform’s simplicity and real-time nature made it appealing to users looking for quick and concise updates. Soon enough, celebrities, politicians, and other public figures began to adopt the platform, attracting even more users. Ashton Kutcher was notably the first user to reach one million followers, a milestone that attracted significant media attention.
Later on, The concept of “retweeting” emerged, allowing users to share others’ tweets with their followers, further increasing the platform’s reach and virality. Hashtags were also introduced, helping organize conversations around specific topics and making it easier for users to discover related content. The platform continued to evolve over the years, introducing features like Twitter threads, Twitter Moments (curated collections of tweets about specific topics), and Twitter Spaces (a feature for hosting audio-only conversations similar to live podcasts).
Twitter introduced advertising options, promoted tweets, and sponsored content to increase revenue and user engagement. It also expanded its multimedia capabilities, allowing users to share images, videos, and GIFs alongside text-based tweets. In 2013, the platform went public with its initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, making it a publicly traded company.
Twitter’s Global Influence and News Impact
As Twitter’s user base expanded, its impact on news dissemination and real-time communication became increasingly evident. Twitter became an integral part of global culture and communication, with Its influence spanning various industries, including journalism, politics, entertainment, and activism.
The platform has served as a powerful tool for public discourse, allowing people from all walks of life to connect, share their thoughts, and participate in conversations about current events and trending topics. Twitter plays a crucial role in broadcasting breaking news and events, often faster than traditional media outlets. During natural disasters, political uprisings, and major events, users turned to Twitter for minute-by-minute updates and eyewitness accounts. Twitter’s role in shaping public opinion, mobilizing communities, and facilitating worldwide conversations solidified its position as a prominent player in the realm of social media.
Twitter’s Change of Ownership
In 2022, Elon Musk, a business magnate and investor, became the sole owner of Twitter by acquiring the social media giant for $44 billion. The acquisition has been followed by a number of significant events, which have impacted the platform’s revenue and kept many users skeptical about what the future holds.
The Rebrand to X
On July 23, 2023, Elon Musk announced a rebranding of the platform from Twitter to X. This was followed by a logo upload, with subsequent changes reflected on the platform and at its physical location.
Elon Musk has said that the rebrand is not just a name change but a step forward into the future where Twitter, now X, will become an “everything app”. This intriguing evolution marks not only a fresh start for the platform but also ushers in a new set of challenges that need to be addressed.
The “Everything App” Vision for X
Following the rebranding announcement, Elon Musk has shared his vision for X to become an “everything app”. This concept, while relatively new outside of Asia, has been successfully implemented by WeChat in China. With WeChat, users can effortlessly navigate through a multitude of services – from paying rent and buying groceries to renting a car and settling bills.
Musk’s vision for X is to replicate and possibly surpass this level of integration. He envisions a platform where users can conduct their entire financial activities, and more, within one digital space.
However, this ambitious transformation is not without its challenges. Consolidating so many services into one platform raises significant privacy concerns. This is because one entity would have access to a great deal of user data and activity. This raises questions about how this data would be protected, stored, and used.
Another challenge is handling the choice of currency. Considering that users around the world could use the app, it would need to support a variety of currencies and navigate the complexities of international financial regulations.
Furthermore, there are potential obstacles with app store policies, particularly with Apple, which currently does not allow such all-encompassing apps. Despite these challenges, Musk is forging ahead, emphasizing the potential benefits such as a universal namespace and the ability to pay or tip anyone online. As X continues to evolve under Musk’s leadership, it will be intriguing to see how it navigates these challenges and whether it can truly become the “everything app” of the future.
The Need for Improved Identity Standards
Identity standards are crucial rules and protocols that ensure user identity security, privacy, and authenticity. Platforms that offer communication and financial services are prime targets for cyberattacks due to the value of the data they handle. They deal with highly sensitive information, including financial data and personal details, making robust identity standards paramount. Identity standards help improve defenses against data breaches, fraud, and unauthorized access, protecting users’ accounts and sensitive information.
In the context of “Twitter X”, the blue checkmark, which was once a symbol of account validation, has evolved. It used to signify that the person behind the account was indeed who they claimed to be. However, it now serves as an indicator that the user is a paying member of the platform.
This change makes us question our identity on the platform and the necessary rules for safety and authenticity. We wonder who we are and what rules should be implemented to maintain a secure and genuine environment.
To address these concerns, the development of robust identity standards within X is essential. These standards must strike a delicate balance between preserving the pseudonymous nature of the platform and allowing for users to be “identified,” especially in light of the payment aspects required by many countries.
Twitter X can implement the following Identity standards within their platform to help address some of their challenges:
1. Digital Identity Management
Effective user onboarding, identity verification, and protection require digital identity management. Twitter X can leverage blockchain-based identity management solutions, such as decentralized and self-sovereign identities, to enhance security. Given Elon Musk’s familiarity with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, integrating these solutions into X should be feasible. As a result, users can conveniently sign up or log in using their decentralized identities.
2. User Authentication
User authentication is crucial in verifying users’ identities before accessing resources. By implementing appropriate identity access management (IAM) standards, Twitter X can ensure robust authentication. To improve security and safeguard sensitive data, organizations should use different methods like biometric and multi-factor authentication.
3. User Authorization
By implementing proper IAM standards, Twitter X can effectively mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to resources. Users will be granted access to features based on their assigned privileges. For instance, only users with verified badges can access the features reserved for verified badge owners. Authorization frameworks ensure that the platform enhances its security and user experience by actively applying appropriate restrictions to user access.
4. User-controlled Data Privacy
Users need assurance of the safety of their information, especially in this digital age with a recurring incidence of identity theft, fraud, and impersonation. By incorporating decentralized identity solutions, Twitter X can empower users to have complete control over their personal data and what they share, making the platform more user-centric.
5. Build Users’ Trust
Trust plays a pivotal role in user engagement. By implementing robust identity standards, Twitter X can instill confidence in its users, enhancing their trust in the platform and other users. Users who perceive a commitment to security and authenticity, actively engage with the platform, knowing their interactions are safeguarded. Strong identity standards contribute to a safer and more reliable digital environment, fostering long-lasting relationships between users and the platform.
6. Regulatory Compliance
Adhering to regulations is crucial when dealing with user identities and data. Data protection laws such as GDPR, as well as anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism regulations like KYC, must be strictly complied with. Robust identity standards ensure digital platforms’ compliance with these regulations, safeguarding against legal penalties and reputational harm. By upholding these standards, Twitter X can foster a secure and trustworthy environment, reassuring users that their personal information is handled responsibly and in accordance with the law.
7. Identity verification for verified badges
By implementing stringent procedures, Twitter X can assure users that verified badge owners are genuine and have undergone thorough verification by the platform. This assurance will foster trust in interactions and business relationships, encouraging more users to subscribe to the feature. Moreover, these measures will deter malicious actors, preventing them from deceiving the unsuspecting public.
8. Encryption and secure data handling
Implementing formidable identity standards and leveraging advanced cryptography and encryption techniques plays a crucial role in safeguarding users’ financial and personal data. With these standards in place, the sign-up and identity verification stages securely collect and protect data, preventing tampering and potential data breaches. Additionally, smart contracts enable users’ data to be securely deleted or anonymized when no longer needed, further enhancing user privacy and data protection. This commitment to data security and responsible data management instills confidence in users, knowing that their sensitive information is handled with the highest level of security and integrity.
9. Bots, fake pages, and spam account detection
The proliferation of bots and spam accounts on the Twitter X platform has been a common criticism. These accounts are often used for cyberbullying and fraudulent activities. However, by implementing AI-based identity standards, the platform can effectively detect suspicious account openings and activities and traces of cyberbullying in communication. These accounts can be swiftly deleted when identified, creating a positive, safer, and more pleasant user environment. In proactively combating these issues, Twitter X demonstrates its commitment to maintaining a secure and authentic community for its users.
10. Seamless user experience
By focusing on a seamless user experience, Twitter X can enhance patronage and user satisfaction. A well-designed, intuitive interface and smooth navigation will attract and retain users. This, in turn, encourages them to engage more frequently with the platform’s features and functionalities. A positive user experience fosters brand loyalty, word-of-mouth referrals, and positive reviews, all of which contribute to the growth and success of Twitter X in the competitive digital landscape. Prioritizing user experience will increase user engagement and solidify Twitter X’s position as a user-centric and reliable platform for its diverse user base.
11. Interoperability and integration with other applications
Enabling interoperability and seamless integration is essential for Twitter X’s success. By ensuring interoperability, Twitter X can collaborate with other platforms and services. This allows users to access a broader range of features and functionalities across different applications without leaving the Twitter X interface, making their interactions more convenient and efficient. Moreover, interoperability expands the platform’s utility, attracting new users and encouraging existing ones to stay within the ecosystem. Seamlessly interacting and integrating with various apps enhances user engagement, satisfaction, and overall value. This positioning Twitter X as a versatile and integrated hub in the digital landscape.
At present, Twitter X has adopted some identity standards to tackle the issues previously discussed. However, these current standards are somewhat broad and may require modifications to accommodate the evolving demands of the platform.
There is a need for more robust and flexible frameworks that can keep up with the dynamic nature of the platform and the changing digital landscape. By taking a proactive approach in investing in innovative identity solutions and standards, Twitter X can enhance user trust, promote a safer online environment, and more effectively address the diverse needs of its user base.
How Identity.com can assist in this transition
Identity.com is an identity-focused blockchain company offering more user-centric identity management systems and protocols. We can be a part of the transition from Twitter to a more formidable X platform. Our solutions will ensure the following:
- Improved user experience
- Reduced onboarding friction
- Secure and transparent identity verification
- User-controlled data privacy
- Interoperability with other platforms and applications
- Regulatory compliance
We also belong to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body for the World Wide Web. Identity.com is an open-source ecosystem providing access to on-chain and secure identity verification. Please refer to our documents for more information about how we can help you with identity verification and general KYC processes.