5 Verification Updates You Need to Know
By Niamh Martin.
In 2009, Twitter launched a beta version of “Verification Ticks” on its platform - a bid to prevent trolling and impersonation on the app ostensibly to protect its users.
Now, the so-called Blue Tick has become a symbol of celebrity or fame, and a form of security for the ever-growing number of brands using social networks as their primary marketing platform.
2023 has brought about huge changes in the verification world, with a slew of paid subscriptions that have evolved from the OG ‘tick’. We’re breaking down what you need to know about this, and when we can expect things to change.
1. Twitter Blue
Twitter Blue sign-ups are available on iOS and web, in specific regions. Twitter Blue subscribers will get access to subscriber-only features* such as Undo Tweet, Edit Tweet, 1080p video uploads and “reader mode”. Subscribers will also receive a blue checkmark after their accounts are reviewed.
At the moment Blue is only available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (as of March 1st 2023), and costs vary with location.
“This feature prioritizes your replies on Tweets that you interact with.” - Tech Crunch
In terms of increasing fame and visibility for accounts, Twitter Blue is also offering ”priority ranking in search, mentions, and replies”, meaning users and brands involved in the scheme will be more visible on the app.
2. Traditional Blue-Ticks on Twitter:
The traditional blue ticket label for verified accounts will be replaced with a gold check mark on some business accounts on Twitter. With plans to also add a grey check mark for government and multilateral accounts.
Measures are now in place to protect brands and people who’ve previously held Blue Ticks before Twitter Blue - following their initial launch drama. This unfortunately involved impersonations:
Terrible for brands, but you have to admit, pretty funny.
3. Meta Verified
Not to be outdone by Elon - Meta has announced their own version of the update, “Meta Verified”. This will be a subscription to gain verified status, which gives users extra impersonation protection against any fake accounts and gives direct access to customer support.
Sweet music to the ears of any social media professional who is still waiting for support from a Meta Rep three years after they first asked for help.
Verified will be supported on both Facebook and Instagram
Similar to Twitter Blue, there have been murmurs that users paying for the subscription will have increased visibility on Meta platforms. The rollout of this feature has begun within the U.S., New Zealand and Australia with varying prices per location. (We estimate the approx €13 per month when it rolls out further)
4. 2-Factor Authentication
The knock-off effects of bringing subscriptions into social networks are already coming forth.
Non-Twitter Blue subscribers will have until 20 March 2023, to disable their Two Factor Authentication before it is turned into a paid-only service. Non-Twitter Blue subscribers will not use text messages as a 2FA method, only subscribed users will have access to this.
With these updates on Twitter, Meta are focusing on reminding users that 2FAC is still available on its platforms, with a recent post from Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri reminding users to turn it on.
5. What’s Next?
Pretty soon there will be a significant “increase in visibility” of these subscribed accounts. And will likely make up the bulk of users’ news feeds.
That could mean a potential boom for organic post reach as paid-for verified accounts get rewarded by the algorithms. Or a potential fall in organic post reach as users curate their feeds making use of the “favourites/following” function. We’ll be monitoring closely for our brands either way.
A Twitter exodus?
Some predict a mass Twitter exodus, “By the end of 2024, US user numbers are forecast to fall to 50.5 million, the lowest level since 2014, as Twitter becomes “more unstable, and less pleasant”.
Pay to play 2.0?
With Meta following Twitter’s paid verified subscription, we could see a change in their 2-Factor authentication as well. Accounts may be forced into a situation where they are required to pay for their security across platforms or face increased fraud and impersonation risk.
Act with Caution - As platforms go through these ongoing identity crises, brands are best placed to slow down, be critical and avoid going into an over-tweeting or over-posting frenzy to abuse the increased visibility options. ‘Proceed with caution’ is the mantra to embrace.
Death or taxes. If your social channels are valued real estate for your brand then the cost of subscription is a small price in the grand scheme of things. There’s vastly more to be lost by not paying for verification.
Data, Data, Data - Use reach and impressions data to measure before and after verification. Twitter's analytics capabilities are limited to begin with, so stay as informed as you possibly can by monitoring performance over time.