What Does a Verified Account Mean on Twitter?

By Elizabeth Mott

If you've ever seen a Twitter account with a "Verified" badge -- a blue check mark -- on its bio page, you've seen the account of someone famous enough that Twitter wants you to know it really belongs to the person whose name is on it. When Twitter first implemented the "Verified" badge program, users could apply for the badge if the personal or corporate identity of their account warranted validation to the user community. These badges establish authenticity because only Twitter can apply them, so you won't see them on fan or parody accounts.

Following the Rules

Twitter allows you to create an account to comment -- in praise or satirically -- on something or someone you value or question. You can create a user name that reflects your fan interest, but Twitter doesn't allow users to assert ownership or identity where it doesn't exist. If you see a Twitter account in the name of a famous person or company, but the account doesn't carry a "Verified" badge, that doesn't mean the account isn't genuine. Visit the user bio page to look for details about the account and decide for yourself whether it's real or a spoof.

What to Do If Someone Impersonates You

If someone establishes a Twitter account using your name or trademark as a username in order to praise your product, satirize your career or parody your creative output, Twitter considers these activities legitimate expressions of free speech and does not intervene against them. However, Twitter does not condone impersonation or brand misuse. If you are concerned about another user's account infringing on a brand name you own or attempting to mislead other users into thinking the account is yours, you have the right to contact Twitter and voice your concerns.

Verified Accounts

Twitter vouches for the identity of any account on which it places a verified badge. That badge means the account holder matches the name on the account. However, some celebrities hire assistants to post to their Twitter accounts in the celebrities' names. Where you see the "Verified" badge, at least you know the account is genuine, even if someone else may be writing the tweets on behalf of the rock star, politician or company head.

Why You Can't Get a Verified Badge

Twitter closed its public verification program, so you no longer can apply for a "Verified" badge. Twitter still adds these tokens to select accounts that belong to its advertisers and business partners. Instead of offering users the "Verified" badge, Twitter advises people who want to demonstrate the legitimacy of their accounts to use links from their official Web presence -- websites, blogs and the like -- and to apply Twitter badges or buttons to guide their website or blog visitors to their Twitter accounts -- sort of a reverse verification procedure.