X has launched government ID verification for paid X Premium subscribers, after clues emerged in August that the feature was coming, TechCrunch has reported. The service, which appears to be optional, has launched in "numerous countries" including the US, but is not available for now in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and the United Kingdom.
In a new help center page, X said the verification is for "safety and security purposes" and to "prevent impersonation." It may also be used to screen age appropriate content in the future. Meanwhile, users will receive benefits like prioritized support, along with a visible label that shows your identity has been verified (though only if someone clicks on the blue checkmark). Down the road, X plans to expedite Premium reviews for users who verify with ID.
The social network partnered with Au10tix, an Israeli-based company specializing in identity verification. X requires you to check a consent form allowing "X and Au10tix [to use] images of my ID and my selfie, including extracted biometric data, to confirm my identity and for X's related safety and security purposes, including preventing impersonation." Au10tix may store such data for up to 30 days.
After Elon Musk purchased X (then Twitter), he announced that the verification program would be revamped and badges only given to paid users. The new program experienced problems from the get-go, though, thanks to issues like rampant impersonation and checkmarks being assign to scammers and bots. The program was later modified to give verification marks to large organizations and users with millions of followers.
X doesn't conduct ID checks itself, apart from safeguards for verified organizations. Meanwhile, Au10tix advertises "8-second verification without even partial human involvement" and "first-of-a-kind tech detecting synthetic fraud patterns globally." The company says it has previously worked with companies like Google, PayPal and Uber.
Last month X changed its policy adding the ability to capture certain user information, but it has a checkered history in terms of privacy. The FTC recently said that Elon Musk "may have jeopardized data privacy and security" at X and has reportedly been investigating the company and Musk since March.