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Twitter Helps Verified Users Connect, Stays Mum About How To Request Verification
Company aims to encourage more interaction between high-profile users by giving them more mobile notifications and identification features.
Twitter wants to be the global public square, so naturally it often caters to the most famous among us. The company wants to stoke public discussion between prominent tweeters, whose interactions will in turn spark retweets and other piling on by the chattering masses.
Conversations like this between footballer/biter Luis Suarez and his most recent bitee Giorgio Chiellini:
.@luis16suarez It’s all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension.
— Giorgio Chiellini (@chiellini) June 30, 2014
And to aid more such interaction, Twitter announced Wednesday that it’s rolling out two mobile features: an alert when a verified user is followed by another verified user on iOS and Android devices and, for iOS users only, the ability for verified users to view verified followers from their profile.
“We hope these two features will help verified users easily connect with each other,” product manager Jinen Kamdar wrote in a blog post, “so we can continue to deliver those only-on-Twitter conversations to users.”
Issues With Verification
That these new features will do much to help that seems like a stretch. High-profile people — or their handlers — don’t seem to be having much trouble communicating on Twitter.
Perhaps the notification could be valuable to verified brands or businesses that want to know when they are followed by a prominent individual. But since it’s a mobile only feature, that possible utility would seem to be diminished. Other advantages of having a verified account include improved filtering of notifications and the optional ability to receive direct messages from all followers.
It’s highest use, of course, is to guard against impostor accounts and signal that an account is the official voice of a celebrity.
Short of that, verification has been something of a vanity plate, a blue checkmark badge of honor. And over the years, Twitter has handed them out to the definitely not famous, including many journalists (including, ahem, me).
Which begs the question: How does someone get verified by Twitter?
That was what actor and verified Twitter user William Shatner was asking in June after noticing that an Engadget social media editor was verified while several fellow actors were not (Note: they still aren’t).
Twitter’s FAQ on the topic is fairly vague:
Twitter verifies accounts on an ongoing basis to make it easier for users to find who they’re looking for. We concentrate on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas. We are constantly updating our requirements for verification. Note, verification does not factor in follower count or Tweet count.
We do not accept requests for verification from the general public. If you fall under one of the above categories and your Twitter account meets our qualifications for verification, we may reach out to you in the future.
So don’t call Twitter, Twitter will call you.
For businesses and brands, the verification process is also shrouded in mystery. In 2012 there were reports that Twitter advertisers who spent a minimum of $15,000 over three months could get their accounts verified. That was never Twitter’s official policy, however.
We emailed Twitter in June (and Wednesday afternoon) seeking comment but haven’t received a response.
Postscript: After this post was published, a Twitter spokesperson emailed to say that the FAQ linked above is up to date and offered no further comment.