Twitter, a while back, introduced the verification process to make sure users knew a person was who they claimed to be. This was most useful for businesses and celebrities, but small business owners, entrepreneurs and even high profile bloggers would get their verification after a little bit of work. Though, even the best intentions can’t prevent some user stupidity.
Facebook eventually rolled out the same sort of verification – it even has the same blue checkmark next to the user’s name in search and on their page – and for the same purpose. It’s meant to cut down on impersonations and identity theft, and in a world of smarter people, it would work.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s process for verifying accounts is obtuse. You might even characterize it as “arcane” and “impossible.” The question that brought you here is how many likes it takes to be verified, so let’s take a look.
At the top end of things, we have accounts like these:
- Facebook themselves, with 161 million likes.
- Christiano Ronaldo, an internationally famous soccer star with 103 million likes.
- Shakira, the Latin pop star currently in full baby obsession, with 100 million likes.
- YouTube, Google’s video service sharing popular videos, with 80 million likes.
- The Simpsons, a cartoon that has lost significant charm with the advent of computer animation, maintaining 69 million likes.
Of course, no small business is ever going to reach such illustrious heights. Many of us struggle to reach a thousand followers, or ten thousand followers. An, well, not everyone with millions of likes is verified. For example:
- Snaptu, the app developer partnered with Facebook, with 16 million likes.
- Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus’s pre-madness Disney role, with 11 million likes.
- PC Gamer, a gaming magazine with a global audience and 2.9 million likes.
So, the sheer number of likes – and thus popularity – is not a deciding factor. I mean, you can look at the top Facebook pages sorted by fan count and the top several hundred are verified, with a few outliers, but those outliers prove the point. So what about the low end?
- Koka, Internet prankster and entertainer, is verified with only 53,000 likes.
- Young Chizz, a musician from NYC, is verified with 19,000 likes.
There are definitely small and mid-sized businesses out there who could use verification but don’t have it, despite having way more likes than these jokers. Why do they get verification and the rest of us don’t?
This is why I call Facebook’s verification process a nebulous and arcane mess. There’s no great way to get your page verified. In fact, there are only three ways a page can be verified at all right now.
Method 1: Let Facebook Do It
This is the method a lot of these celebrities have taken. The pages are popular and are run by the official social teams of these celebs, or by the celebs themselves, and Facebook takes notice. They step in and send the user a message; provide us some documentation and we’ll verify your page. It’s pretty damn unlikely for any of us to see this message unsolicited, though.
Method 2: Ask for Verification
You can request official verification review, but only if you fall into specific categories. Facebook says, in their help system, “Right now, we’re only accepting verification requests from Pages that represent celebrities, public figures, sports teams, media and entertainment.” One thing that’s conspicuously absent is businesses.
If you happen to fall in one of those above categories, or are on the brink enough that you can argue successfully that you’re in one, you can go to this form and fill it out. You need some form of official document, be it a drivers license, a passport, a birth certificate, an article of incorporation, or something else that Facebook allows.
Submit the document and request, and wait. You’ll hear back, eventually, and Facebook will either confirm your verification and give you the check mark, or they’ll turn down your verification request for either being the wrong category or not being notable enough.
Method 3: Be Impersonated. A Lot.
The primary purpose of verification is to eliminate imposters who are trying to negatively and maliciously represent your brand on Facebook. If you’re being impersonated, it’s either someone intentionally falsifying your brand, or it’s a parody account. Parody accounts are occasionally renamed or removed, but most of the time it’s only the malicious accounts that have definite action taken against them.
When you discover an account impersonating your business, you can report it to Facebook using this particular method. When you do, Facebook reviews it and may force the page to change their information or just delete it.
Occasionally, if there’s a serious impersonation problem, Facebook will go one step further and will verify your account to prevent future impersonation.
Do note that you’re not going to be able to manually trigger this event. I don’t want to see any of you verification-hounds going out there to make fake accounts of your own businesses and reporting them just to try to get verified in the aftermath. You’d probably get your IP banned, and then where will you be?
The moral of the story is, Facebook’s verification just isn’t something you can seek out. It’s more of an act of god or a fluke of nature; it just happens sometimes, and there’s not really anything you can do to make it happen. You could try to build a larger audience and attract more attention, but if you’re a business and not a celebrity, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle to try to get verification.
Don’t try. It’s not all that worth it on Facebook. If you absolutely must seek out verification, do it on Twitter. They at least will verify anyone, so long as you’re notable enough, have enough followers, or have a good reason to be verified.