Whenever you spend any time on Facebook or Twitter you will inevitably come across an account that has a blue check mark next to it. Most likely you know that means that one of the two social media companies has verified the account. Other sites such as Pinterest and Vine (which Twitter owns) are also now verifying accounts. Most likely Instagram will be following suit soon.
For the most part there are only two kinds of social media verified accounts – for popular brands and for public figures. This social media verification process is needed in order to help protect the integrity of the corporation, company or individual whose name is on the account and to help prevent fraud. After all, we are talking about the internet here. Every day people make all kinds of outrageous claims, and they are believed, while those making these claims can just hide behind the anonymity that the Web provides them with. The check mark is a powerful weapon against many potentially bad individuals.
For example, imagine there is a certain celebrity that you are a big fan of. This celebrity has number Facebook fan pages. However, there is one page purporting to be the celebrity’s personal page. You could possibly Friend the individual and even chat with them! How exciting is that! Just imagine a really famous individual taking the time to want to get to know you! All you have to do to get their personal autograph is give them your credit card number, and they will send it to you right away!
This happens frequently. As you might imagine, there are many such sinister exchanges occurring all over the internet. Twitter and Facebook, by authenticating that the account owner is the real person or a legal representative of the individual whose name is on the social media account, is providing a great service to both the public figure and their fans.
How Accounts Are Authenticated
However, this service is completely discretionary and up to the social media provider. Authentication is not granted through any official channels. A national grand or public figure usually must obtain a large amount of followers before they are considered to receive the check mark. In addition, they will need tan official website connected to their social media account Only the website URL is required by Pinterest. Your website URL should always be posted on all of your social media accounts.
There are some public figures who plead to get this seal of authenticity. Michael Dorn (who sci-fan know as Worf from Star Trek), earlier this year begged his followers and friends to help him get his seal of approval, despite the fact that his Twitter account had been established several years ago. He received it eventually, but only after the efforts that he made earned him a significant amount more of followers.
For a long time there was a fake Twitter account in the name of ESPN columnist Jackie McMullen. A large number of sports figures and colleagues followed the count thinking it was authentic. McMullen did not discover the bogus account until a fellow writer scolded her in person for not ever responding to tweets. The fake McMullen stopped writing, but the account stayed on Twitter for a number of years.
Why You Should Care About This
It all has to do with branding, and whether you happen to be a small brick and mortar business or major player, protecting your name online should be a top priority for you. You might not ever have a huge number of followers on your social media accounts to warrant getting the precious blue check mark. However, even having a few followers means you matter to these people, and that they matter to you. Pay close attention to them, and make sure to stay vigilant about is said about your business and you on social media.