Twitter is a popular social network consisting of both regular and verified global users. A user will not be verified simply by signing up, but must qualify in the eyes of the company. The following guide can help take some of the mystery out of the Twitter verification process.
What is a Verified Account
Verification badges are awarded to accounts that represent celebrities, brand names, public figures and companies. This tells users those accounts are authentic and are exactly who and what they appear to be. This also helps to distinguish between real accounts and fake accounts that are often set up by those who have no affiliation with the person or business. Any account that is expected to grow a large following, or might be subject to impersonation, should be verified. This is why most people who live in the public eye are verified, as are many corporations.
History of Twitter Verification
Twitter began issuing verification badges in 2009. At that time, it was an open process, and any user could fill out the form and apply. In the years since, Twitter has removed the open application method and now awards badges more selectively. This has created the issue of no one being clear on how the current verification process works. Twitter has refused to provide any information on the matter. Most verified accounts are genuine, however, there was an event where a fake account was awarded a badge. This occurred with a user who claimed to be media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng. Many people were not impressed with the error.
How to Be Verified by Twitter
A user should carefully consider whether or not an account qualifies for the badge. Twitter will not award verification simply from a user asking for it. The company’s goal to is to keep the number of verified accounts low, so celebrities and big corporations are a top priority. Twitter’s official help page contains answers to frequently asked questions about verification:
- The company engages in a constant review process in order to connect users with whomever they are searching for, with a focus on musicians, actors, journalists, athletes, business and politics.
- There are frequent updates to the review and verification process and requirements. The number of tweets or followers an account has does not factor into a decision to verify.
- Requests for verification from the public are not considered.
- Those who wish to be verified are encouraged to keep using Twitter “in a meaningful way”, and the company may reach out at a future time to discuss verification.
Twitter does maintain an account with the handle “@verified” that posts occasional messages, and some users claim that sending a request for verification by tweet or direct message will hasten the process. Since the account tweets so infrequently, there is no way to know if anyone reads the messages sent to it. Another approach would be to send an email through the company’s contact page, but that it not likely to yield any results seeing as Twitter does not consider public verification requests. All users can do is engage on the service and hope for the best.
One aspect that factors strongly into consideration for verification is authenticity. The easiest way to achieve this is to include the Twitter follow button on a website. The user biography should include a real photo, location and an official web page. This tells Twitter, and followers, that the user is a real person and not a bot or an impersonator. It also helps to tweet positive messages and helpful information and not be nasty, gossiping or profane. This type of account is more attractive to followers, as it makes the person appear kind, knowledgeable and approachable.
As with anything that is sought after, people have found ways to hack their profiles in order to appear verified. This is done by using a fake checkmark badge and placing it next to the username on the profile. Hacking a badge is not a good idea because if Twitter discovers it, the account will be permanently suspended. Being fake verified also eliminates all goodwill with the account’s following when the deception is discovered. Once a user’s name is muddied on social media, it can be very difficult if not impossible to restore it. It is best to not use a hack to appear verified and risk losing an account over a few hours of fame.
What an Official Verified Account Looks Like
Verified accounts have a certain look and the following list helps to identify the real thing.
- The badge will appear to the right of the username, directly above the information provided in the biography.
- If the checkmark appears in any other location on a profile, such as in the background or in the user’s photo, it is not verified and should be reported immediately.
- The badge is displayed next to a verified user’s name in search, which is another way to know the account is genuine. A fake verification will not have this feature.
- An official badge will always remain the same color regardless of the other design changes the user makes on the profile.
Another interesting feature found on verified accounts is the ability to toggle the timeline display. Some of these users enjoy engaging with their followers, which results in many retweets and replies. This can result in a very messy display, and make it difficult to find and read the tweets from the user. Twitter sets these timelines to “No Replies” by default, resulting in a cleaner profile. Visitors have the option of choosing “All” if they wish to see all tweets and replies. Non-verified accounts do not have this timeline feature, which makes them stand out more, especially if there is a hacked badge being displayed.
As explained above, the verification process is not entirely transparent, and there is no magic formula for receiving a blue checkmark. Sometimes, it is personality, or helpfulness or fame, or how many people have tried to set up fake accounts in a person’s or business’s name. Sometimes, it is simply being genuine and a good citizen on the service. Sometimes, users log on one day and find their accounts have been verified for no apparent reason. It just happens out of the blue. One thing that does seem to stand out is the fact that a user does not have to be famous or have a following in the millions to become verified.
While waiting for the magical badge, users can always learn from others on how to conduct themselves on Twitter and receive advice on brand-building, interaction and reputation, all qualities that are attractive to the company when making verification decisions. It is also advisable to try to have fun on the service and not be all-business. Twitter is great way to connect with many people around the world in real-time, sharing news, culture and humor. It has truly become the great watercooler of the 21st century, bringing together people who would never have met or communicated otherwise.