Twitter: Verified Accounts and Leadership Badges

Twitter is verifying famous people accounts (companies may come later). Details hereOpens in a new tab.. Feedback FormOpens in a new tab. for applying. This post is closely associated to The Role of Leaderboards in Online CommunitiesOpens in a new tab.

Online Community Badges

Anyone who has done my “Building and Maintaining an Online Community” course will know about the option to give “badges” to leaders as reward programs. It helps them sort out value systems and find interesting people/content.

  • Helps subgroup that is tribing up identify major players (Most Helpful on Forum) and each other (Game Guilds)
  • can then be used to create leaderboards (top lists) that help newcomers navigate to interesting and popular members (Most Friends, Best Content)
  • and ensures appropriate behaviour in the forum or game or whatever you are building. (Naughty = no badge).

Online Community Titles

Another -and I think critical use – of badges is to verify official members of staff. Moderators or admins. In my post Major Security Bug in MySpaceOpens in a new tab. from 2 years ago I wrote about the danger of not locking down titles like “Moderator” or “Admin” which allows anyone (including predators) to impersonate a Moderator, and not giving their staff BADGES so that they stand out as Official Admins. Still hasn’t been fixed. MySpace at the moment has 404 members with Moderator titles. Yet they only have around 1000 staff so I doubt they are all moderators. My fake Official_Admin account is still there. 

Build Identity

Both Titles and Badges help to build Identity. 


If the host of the community hands out titles and badges, then the community is fasttracked to trusting that member, and the member feels they are valued and have fast tracked their reputation. 

Verified Member titles


Community badges and titles are not to be confused with badges or titles with “Verified Account” next to them. Yes, the host is fast tracking trust and reputation for that member. In this case Twitter.

What is a Verified Account? 

To prevent identity confusion, Twitter is experimenting (beta testing) with a ‘Verified Account’ feature. We’re working to establish authenticity with people who deal with impersonation or identity confusion on a regular basis. Accounts with a Verified are the real thing!

But it’s being done to verify an offline, real world, not virtual online identity. Bringing established reputation from another social network (“real life”) to a new online social network.  Many communities build trust and reputation more comprehensively online than offline and don’t need an offline connection to do so.


However Twitter is quickly becoming the Socialazzi tool of choice, so I can see why they are verifying their famous members. I just made up Socialazzi. Just ignore it – short hand for the social network as paparazzi, following society leaders such as politicians, athletes and pop stars for breaking gossip news direct from the source and disintermediating gossip magsOpens in a new tab..

It will be interesting to see if companies e.g. Coca Cola pay for a verified account. Famous people get it for free because Twitter values their custom.

What about businesses?

We’re not testing this feature now with businesses. However, if you’re interested in verification for your business, fill out this feedback form and let us know!

If I were Twitter, I’d be charging sooner rather than later. It will stop damaging “You allowed my good name to be besmirched by an imposter” court cases. Unless it opens up floodgates instead…

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

15 thoughts on “Twitter: Verified Accounts and Leadership Badges

  1. Twitter: Verified Accounts and Leadership Badges | Laurel Papworth … http://bit.ly/dsfnY

  2. RT @SilkCharm: A big blue tick! Twitter: Verified Accounts and Leadership Badges http://cli.gs/dzdQY For @turnbullmalcolm & @kevinruddPM?

  3. read @silkcharm’s post abt verified Twitter accounts. badges and identity model interests me on a number of levels http://tinyurl.com/n7eqe2

  4. RT @SilkCharm Why verification badges are important in social networks http://bit.ly/3zPWBE Twitter does a good job of fast tracking ID…

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