The inside track on Twitter’s new verification policy

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 27 Jul, 2016
View comments Social Media
Twitter announced this week that it was going to expand its verified account option to the public.

Twitter

Twitter’s vice president of User Services, Tina Bhatnagar, said, “We hope opening up this application process results in more people finding great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for these creators and influencers to connect with a broader audience.”

This means that the coveted blue tick is now open to all, theoretically, at least.

Twitter was the first social network to introduce verification and was used primarily to verify the accounts of celebrities and other high profile figures, showing fans they were interacting with the real deal. For many Twitter users, the verification announcement was much welcomed.

While on paper, the new verification process is open to all Twitter users, there are some criteria which must be met:

  • The account seeking verification must have a valid phone number, email address, full bio, website, a birthdate, a profile photo and header photo. In other words, the Twitter profile must be complete.
  • The account must also have a handle which reflects the real name of a company or individual – an important factor for marketers to remember when submitting verification applications.
  • If the account is associated with a brand, it must be linked with a company email address.
  • In some cases, Twitter might ask certain individuals seeking verification to provide a form of government-issued identification, to further enhance the verification process.

But there’s a catch: Twitter won’t verify your account unless there’s a solid reason. Accounts that are prone to being imitated, for example, stand a much stronger chance of being verified than a member of the public with a small number of followers and even few tweets to their name. Parody accounts, however, which are often imitated or even duplicated, are unlikely to receive verification.

When submitting your verification application to Twitter, you must provide a reason as to why you feel verification would be appropriate. Twitter won’t comply with your request for verification unless you can provide a concrete reason for it to do so.

Is it worth it?

Trust is a valuable currency in the online world, and having a verified profile on Twitter will let your friends and followers know you are who you say you are. This of course is useful if imposters have previously pretended to be your or your brand online (there are thousands of fake celebrity accounts for example)

In order to submit a verification request, you have to supply a large amount of personal data to Twitter and provide a compelling reason why verification is required. For many accounts, a compelling reason simply doesn’t exist. If you aren’t a celebrity or a victim of online abuse, adding the coveted blue tick will likely be tricky.

If you’re an individual, you’ll need to lay out what your impact in your field has been. For brands, you need to detail your mission. Twitter doesn’t actually say what criteria it is looking for here, meaning its decision process remains shrouded in some mystery.

If your initial application for verification is denied, you can re-submit an application after 30 days. So, if you weren’t able to secure the coveted blue tick the first time around, you can make some adjustments to your profile and have another go.

 

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