Twitter’s Verification Is Getting Weird. Here’s Why It’s Going so Wrong.

Twitter's Verification Is Getting Weird. Here's Why It's Going so Wrong.

Twitter verification is supposed to show that a user is real and build trust, but experts say the process can go wrong quickly.

A spoof After sharing violent videos and pictures, a Twitter account that looked like the branding for MTV’s game show The Challenge got a gold check mark. It shows how hard it is for Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter, to change the way the verification process works.

In an email chat with Lifewire, Joe Karasin, an expert on digital marketing, said that verification needs to be more strict. “Google Ads needs a lot of proof to stop scams and malware from being advertised, and Instagram’s verification rules are pretty strict. Expect the same kind of rules to be put in place as Twitter continues to change. Elon Musk doesn’t want his $44 billion investment to continue to lose money or cause big problems.

Twitter Confusion

Man in his 30s with beard and glasses texting on mobile with pet cat on nearby counter

The Challenge, a game show on MTV, is so well-known that it has a Twitter account that makes fun of it. Whoever owns the account paid Twitter’s new $1,000-a-month gold confirmed check mark fee. But the account caused trouble by posting violent videos before it was shut down.

The director of marketing at Next PR, Kathleen Marchetti, said in an email, “Besides the obvious impersonation problems that come with verifying the wrong account, the spread of false information is a major concern when there isn’t enough research on the users being verified.”

Musk is the new owner and CEO of Twitter. He has changed how users can get verified on the site, which has caused some controversy and confusion. Verification used to be a free service that gave a blue check mark to important accounts that were real. Now, anyone can pay $8 a month to use it.

Elon Musk said that his move was meant to make verification fair for everyone and get rid of a system that gave some people more power than others. But some well-known people have refused to pay for Twitter verification because they thought it was a sign of weakness or a loss of authority to do so.

Some have even tried to get rid of the check mark after Twitter put it back on their accounts without their permission. Many users who have paid for verification have used it to troll, pretend to be someone else, or spread false information, taking advantage of the fact that it makes them more visible and gives them more power.

Experts say that Twitter’s verification policies have been inconsistent and hard to understand. For example, Twitter has given check marks to some accounts that didn’t ask for them or didn’t qualify for them, like accounts for dead celebs or fake accounts.

Raising The Verification Stakes

“Sure, it gives you more features, like a square avatar and exclusive access to contact premium support, but at what cost?” she asked. “Not only does it cost organizations $1,000 a month, but the once-coveted check mark has lost a lot of its charm from the early days of Twitter.”

But Karasin said that Twitter verification, like verification on other social media sites, is important to stop fake accounts. He said that an Eli Lilly joke account had caused the stock to crash last year.

“If a government account lost its status, other bad people could cause a lot of trouble,” he said. “This is the problem with the paid verification system because anyone with $8 can easily try to pose as someone else on the platform.”

Marchetti said that one perk of being verified is that your tweets will show up in the “For You” section of other users’ feeds. For You is tailored to each user based on their interests, the accounts they follow, the things they have commented on, etc. The “Following” part of the feed shows the accounts a user is following.

“If you don’t pay the money for verification, only your followers will be able to see your tweets,” Marchetti said. “Which is kind of funny, given that its CEO talks a lot about not censoring speech and freedom of speech.”

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