Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Social media giant Twitter said Thursday that it will begin a new verification process for political candidates involved in certain races next year.
The new verification -- which will add what Twitter calls "U.S. election labels" -- will add to the typical blue check mark it now attaches to verified user accounts. When a candidate's identity is confirmed, a small "government" icon will also appear below their name.
As a second initiative, Twitter will also begin identifying candidates who qualify for the primary ballot in congressional and gubernatorial races by attaching a "verified badge" to their accounts.
"Election Labels provide information about political candidates, like the office they are running for, their state and district number, and contain a small ballot box icon," Twitter wrote in a blog post. "The Label will appear on the profile page of a candidate's Twitter account and on every Tweet sent and Retweeted by the candidate's account."
The move is a response to concerns that Twitter's recent ban on political advertising could hurt lesser-known candidates for office.
"A significant factor in expanding verification to these races was to ensure a level playing field," Twitter spokesperson Nick Pacilio told Politico.
Twitter said the new icons will begin appearing on March 3, and it will partner with Ballotpedia to verify the candidates.