Twitter has a huge problem with bots. Just look at half the responses to Donald Trump tweets and you’ll see the tell-tale signs of broken English, and usernames with strings of random numbers.
Fixing Twitter’s bot problem is simple, however I fear they will not follow my method because it will shine a light on the dirty secret that we all know anyway: the user base isn’t made up of as many real people as investors would like.
Regardless, one of Twitter’s biggest headaches of late could actually be their saving grace — the verification process. Twitter should open up it’s verification process again and make it available to everyone willing to prove they are who they say they are and charge a small processing fee.
If Twitter developed an easy way for people to submit their ID and other documents that proves they are a real human, combined with a small processing fee (e.g. $4.99), that would lay the groundwork for timeline improvements where the default setting is to only see tweets, replies and DMs from verified users. While there should still be an option to allow unverified content, that should be opt-in. I would also like to see follower counts adjusted to only show verified users to give a real view on what one’s audience looks like.
This would easily stop bot farms from creating new accounts as well as keeping people that are banned from Twitter from signing back up with a new email address and throwaway phone number. For those that don’t want to pay the small fee for getting verified, they will still have the ability to user Twitter the way they normally do, however those of us that want a better user experience can filter out their content and have more meaningful interactions with people that aren’t hiding behind anonymous accounts.
Let’s also not forget the advantages to marketers who will have more trust knowing they’re paying for ads served to real people. As a marketer, I’d gladly pay a higher CPC knowing that my content was being engaged by a much higher quality audience.
Have any other idea on what Twitter should do to fix it’s bot problem? Let me know your thoughts.