[Brainstorming!] Take your verified badge with you? Verification on ActivityPub

:wave: Hey there! I’m brand new to ActivityPub (so apologies in advance for being not very knowledgeable).

I am hoping someone can help me brainstorm how it might be possible to achieve some cool new functionality using ActivityPub: a portable verified badge

Verification Today

Major social media platforms today provide a verification option, but:

  • Either this is only available to select accounts, or it requires paying a subscription.
  • The verified badge on one platform is not reusable/portable: you can’t “take it with you” to another platform.
  • The verification process is opaque and specific to the platform in question, rather than a more general purpose utility.

Verification Tomorrow?

Here’s what I imagine as a better option:

  • A user could list any verification they like on their ActivityPub profile. The verification itself could be done by any party (whether the social media platform implementing ActivityPub or an external entity, like an identity verification provider).
  • This verification could take the form of a link that resolves to a badge image that could be displayed by the social media platform and a proof of verification (ideally containing metadata about what was verified and how and which entity performed the verification).
  • This type of verified badge would be reusable/portable because it could be displayed by any implementation of ActivityPub.
  • And it would be properly federated, allowing for lots of different types of verification, performed by lots of different entities!
  • This could provide functionality beyond just basic verification, allowing people to show evidence of organizational affiliation for example.

For those who know much more than me about how ActivityPub works, would it be possible to enable this sort of thing within the existing framework? How might that work?

Would love to brainstorm with you!

Just some food for thought, but in nostr we have badges, and they are very popular. Here is an article which describes how they are used, and the technical details.

One way to create ActivityPub badges might be to take the system and create an FEP along similar lines. I personally think it would be really nice if badges gained in one system were recognized in another.

Currently there is self-verification that means: this account is linked to that URL. Which seems to be how identity was done before authoritarian regimes required identity papers for population control.

What is the purpose of verification in your idea @Liam?

And how would you distinguish legitimate third-party verification from oppressive or bullshit?

@melvincarvalho I must say that seeing a smiling child in a uniform is not entirely to my taste. Especially when the child is white and blond and obviously demonstrates privilege and merit. This kind of memetic humor I classify as military and offensive.

There’s a W3C standard that describes how one entity could make cryptographically verifiable claims about other entities: Verifiable Credentials Data Model v1.1.

@melvincarvalho Totally agree that it would be so nice if badges gained in one system were available across other systems! That’s really what I’m hoping for.

@how I’m having a hard time finding anything online about self-verification — is there anything you could link me to? As for how to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate verification, the idea would be that each platform could decide which badges to support or not, and each user could decide which badges to get and display on their profiles. In other words, everyone could decide for themselves which form of verification is appropriate.

@ silverpill Thanks for mentioning this — very familiar with the Verifiable Credentials spec. That’s a great building block to consider, certainly, but unfortunately unless ActivityPub references it in a reasonable way, there’s not really a way to use it (that I’m aware of).

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I don’t know if this is what @how had in mind, but the Mastodon documentation describes how to self-verify profile links.