Social media sites have come to wield enormous influence in our modern world. Whether you prefer to spend time on Twitter, or hang out over on Facebook, chances are good that you enjoy sharing and interacting with friends and family, as well as meeting new people. However, social media is not necessarily a harmless place, and threats are pretty common. Whether it stems from interacting with someone claiming to be something they’re not, from viruses or malware, social media can be dangerous. To help combat these problems, many social media sites are implementing verified accounts. What are these and what’s the point?
Verified accounts are exactly what they sound like – they’re accounts that the social network has verified as belonging to the person named as the account holder. If you are familiar with Twitter at all, then you’ve likely seen the word “verified” and the checkmark next to celebrity names on their accounts. This proves that the person using the account is actually the celebrity in question. These days, the need for verification and proof of identity has moved from being a celebrity-centric thing to something that applies to all users.
The goal of verified social media accounts is pretty simple to understand. Verifying that an account holder is who they profess to be offers assurances to anyone connecting with that account. For example, if you were to connect with someone who had an unverified account, there’s no proof that you’re really chatting with the person named.
Let’s take it one step further. Suppose you let your young teen use Facebook, and she starts chatting with a new friend. That new friend is supposedly another young teen girl from another state. On the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, what proof do you have that the person chatting with your daughter really is another young teen, and not a sexual predator that’s going to lure her into a dangerous situation? Verified social media accounts help put a stop to dangerous, threatening situations such as this.
How are accounts verified? The verification process differs with each social media site, but all of them involve the account holder providing proof that they are who they claim to be. For instance, a copy of a driver’s license with a clear picture, name and other identifying factors provided to the social network administrators can be all that’s needed.