How do twitter decide which accounts get verified?
What is Verification on Twitter?
To begin, I thought it would be good to explain what Twitter verification actually is. Twitter verification is when an account is approved by Twitter to authenticate the identity of a person, brand or source of high quality information. such accounts can range from anything including a celebrity like Ricky Gervais, a music artist like Rihanna or a company like Nike.
Twitter started verifying twitter accounts in 2009 for “public officials, public agencies, famous artists, athletes, and other well known individuals at risk of impersonation”. Impersonation was becoming a problem on twitter and a few high profile cases began to pop up. Most notably the case of Anthony La Russa, a baseball team manager in the US who sued Twitter for damages after a impersonator posted derogatory tweets regarding his team. A large number of people assumed it was the real Anthony, resulting in undeserved abuse. – http://www.dmlp.org/threats/la-russa-v-twitter-inc
So, now we have a clearer picture of why Twitter verification is so important, how can we tell if an account is verified or not?
It’s quite simple really, all you have to do is have a quick look on any profile and if it is a verified account, you’ll see a small blue bubble with a white tick inside.
This symbol lets us know that the account is verified and the information being tweeted is coming from the real source, not a fake profile. The verification logo has to come from Twitter, who approve an account through their verification process. Of course there are people who try to falsify the logo by putting in a custom header. While this may look convincing, when you hover over the logo on an unofficial account nothing will happen. On a verified account a small pop up box will inform you of its verification, stating that it is indeed a “Verified profile”. Twitter are incredibly strict with users who to try fake verification, often delivering a warning, before eventually suspending accounts that do not comply.
So how do they decide who gets verified?
Twitter is always on the lookout for accounts that they deem to be worthy of the verification badge. According to Twitter, they now “concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, advertising, business, and other key interest areas”. On occasion they’ll also verify business partners and any individuals at high risk of impersonation.
The company claim that they proactively verify accounts themselves, meaning there is no formal application process. At times however, some celebrities and stars will encourage their fans to support what is an unofficial application for verification. Essentially Twitter has the final word, only verifying accounts that they believe are important or at risk of false impersonation that ultimately, would be deceptive to the people who think they are following a specific account.
Twitter never states any specific rules that accounts must follow in order to gain verification (It’s all a bit mysterious), but the FAQ’s on Twitter provide a few hints on what they may look for. For example, they mention that you should always link your official website to your twitter account with a link from your website back to your official Twitter account. This would add a layer of authenticity to your Twitter and may persuade them to give you that little blue tick!
Yes it’s all a little mysterious and confusing, and it almost feels like Twitter verifies accounts under the justification of “because we say so”. However this isn’t the case – All Twitter are doing is managing such accounts carefully, ensuring that individuals and fans are reading legitimate information from the people they follow, and not false information from parody account.