Fake accounts have long been a problem even before Twitter existed. Some people create fake accounts out of spite or admiration, while others create fake accounts because they like the attention they wish they were given if they were the person they impersonated. Whatever the reasons, Twitter created the “Verified Account” feature to help users that face impersonation problems. They did not, however, create it to separate the popular from the not-so-popular, or the famous from the not-so-famous. Yes, some celebrities, musicians, and athletes have verified their accounts with Twitter, but Twitter has also rejected the applications of many other high-profile users, as well.
What are the characteristics of a “Verified Account”? Let’s look at one.
This is the account of Laura Fitton (@Pistachio), CEO/Founder of oneforty, a company that develops and promotes innovative tools that makes Twitter an enjoyable experience. At her bio in the upper right corner, you can see a turquoise, eight-pointed star with rounded corners and a white check mark, made at a right angle, inside the star. To the right of the star are the italicized words, “Verified Account”. The star and italicized words are above her full bio. Finally, you can read her full name in the Page Title (Internet Explorer and Firefox) or browser tab (Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome).
As an aside, Forbes listed Laura as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter”, and I highly recommend that you follow her as well as the other women on the list.
People who wish to make a fake “Verified Account” designation can get creative. Some people have resorted to taking a screenshot of a verified account and putting it in the background. Their work becomes undone when people view their Twitter account on monitors with different resolutions. For example, the resolution of my computer monitor here at work is an eye-squinting 1680 x 1050. The other co-founder of our company sets his at 640 x 480. Despite having the same 20″ wide-screen monitor, we have vastly different views of the Twitter backgrounds of other users, even our own Twitter account. Unless every user had the exact same screen resolution as the fake verified account maker, this method is doomed from the start.
How else do people create fake verified accounts? Let’s look at one.
Take a look at the “Name” field. The person inserted a black check mark just before “Verified Account” in normal, non-italicized print. The check mark is not at a right-angle, as seen here. Some people have even taken to inserting the false information at the “Location” or “Bio” field. Finally, the very words, “Verified Account”, may appear in the Page Title (Internet Explorer and Firefox) or browser tab (Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome) where the person’s full name should have been.
Twitter takes the use of fake Verified Account badges very seriously and will permanently suspend the account of anybody found using it. If you have already amassed thousands of followers, creating a fake Verified Account badge is not worth the risk.