Twitter needs these 2 Bumble features

Sorry, Elon—paid verification has failed.

Twitter’s made my life. My last 3 jobs came from bosses sliding in my DMs, I’ve met close personal friends in the replies, and even my business partner. It’s one of my primary sources of income alongside this newsletter.

But I kinda hate what Twitter’s become. It wasn’t all peaches & cream during the Dorsey days, but the Elon era’s been a dumpster fire. Brand safety’s at an all-time low, trolls plague the platform like locusts, and it feels tougher than ever to enjoy a niche corner of the site without anons, randos, and bots mucking up your replies.

Fortunately, I’ve got two ideas for Twitter that would instantly improve the site, make users feel safer, increase accountability, and encourage healthier conversations, both of which are already used in a 50 million+ user community where safety is of the utmost concern.

Here are the two features from Bumble—yes, the dating app— I wish Twitter would steal.

Free photo verification

Twitter users have spoken: they aren’t gonna pay for verification. A recent report claims only 444,000 people pay for X Premium (Twitter Blue’s new name) out of the supposed 528 million monthly active tweeters.

That means .08% of Twitter users are paying for verification.

Even if we assume all half million are paying the $16/month Premium+ tier (which they absolutely are not), that’s just over $7 million a year. Barely couch change considering their $4.4 billion 2022 overall revenue.

Meanwhile, Bumble offers free verification to all users. It’s incredibly simple—after you select your profile pics, the app shows you a specific pose to make. You send a selfie back in said pose, and within a few minutes, you’ve got your little blue verified shield. Being a dating app, there’s an expectation for everyone to verify—some users even send a verification request as a first message to unverified profiles.

Adding Bumble’s verification approach to Twitter would instantly increase accountability. People watch their mouth when they can’t hide behind a manga avatar as @MetsFan42069. Real faces and names to earn your blue checkmark—not a couple bucks. There’s almost no reason to offer social media verification to users unwilling to use their actual identity—that’s the literal point of verification.

And if we had free verification, we could also have…

Sorting by Verified profiles only

Take a look at that second row in the middle of Bumble’s advanced filters. It’s an option to only see verified profiles while swiping left & right.

If Twitter added free verification AND a verified only feed, you’d have a much healthier, more human version of Twitter. Less bots (not none, they always find a way). Fewer keyboard warriors. Hopefully less out of pocketness in general.

It’s worth noting Twitter already has a half version of this in the notifications tab, filing replies & engagement from verified users into its own column. This really isn’t farfetched, and would even be an improvement without free photo verification.

But what about internet anonymity? Not everyone wants to use their real name!

Hey, stay anonymous. No one’s suggesting required verification. Be as not you as you want! There are plenty of valid arguments for internet anonymity—data security, identity safety, whistleblowing—but far, far more users take advantage of the situation for unhealthy behaviors.

It’s perfectly reasonable for a tweeter who uses their real name and face to only wanna chat with users who also put themselves out there. It’s an option that would likely attract more users and even advertising dollars (imagine if brands could target verified users only). It’d certainly help me enjoy Twitter again.