Twitter Halts Its Verification Program

In today’s hyper connected consumer society, a strong social media presence is a critical component for any successful brand. Personal brands, as well as corporate brands, have flourished over social media. Indeed, through social media we have seen a rise of a new marketing machine: influencers. In the social media world, brand association, product placement and influencers have evolved into a symbiotic relationship.

What is Verification?

As part of a strategy to increase the value of a brand’s social media presence, social media hubs, such as Twitter, have created mechanisms that verify social media profiles. The verification stamp confirms to the public that the social media handle is actually the voice of the brand, celebrity, politician, public figure and/or influencer to which the social media handle is associated. Obtaining the verification stamp of approval is a badge of honour and a mark of social media prestige. Similarly, for Twitter, the ‘blue tick’ (which signifies that an account has been verified) has become an iconic feature of the social media platform.

Why Did Twitter Suspend its Verification Process?

In its inception, Twitter used the verification process predominantly for celebrities and brands. However, in recent years, Twitter widened its scope as to who could become verified: those with a public persona. The problem arose from Twitter’s verification of accounts that are related to individuals who espouse white supremacist sentiments. Some have viewed Twitter’s verification of those accounts as a justification of their opinions. In responding to the barrage of negative public opinion, Twitter has halted its verification process to re-evaluate who should and should not qualify. Those accounts that have already been verified will remain verified; Twitter has not indicated that it would revoke verification.

Suspension of Twitter’s Verification Process

Twitter announced that it suspended its verification program, stating:

“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an
endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created
this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications
while we work and will report back soon.”

–@twittersupport, November 9, 2017

What Can We Expect to See Next?

It is likely that Twitter will reinstate its verification process and that the iconic ‘blue tick’ will still legitimize brands and personal accounts. If your brand is public facing, it is wise to ensure that your social media presence is robust. Have you taken advantage of these added benefits on the social media platforms? Froese Law can assist with devising the right strategy for you.

Ashlee Froese is a branding lawyer and is recognized as a Certified Specialist in Trademarks Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada.   Ashlee is Principal of Froese Law, a Toronto-based boutique law firm that specializes in branding law.  @froese_law