With Twitter recently updating its verification guidelines, and Instagram making it easier for the general public to apply for profile verification in the app, Facebook has today provided a new overview of its approach to verification, and who, exactly, qualifies for the blue checkmark in its apps.
First off, Facebook clarifies exactly what its verification tick represents:
“At its core, verification is a way for people to know that the notable accounts they are following or searching for are exactly who they say they are. It’s a way for people to know which accounts are authentic and notable. Verification badges aren’t an endorsement from us, nor do we consider them a symbol of importance.”
This has been a source of consternation at Twitter, which, over the last year, has worked to re-establish what its verification marker actually means, after some had confused the checkmark as a level of endorsement from the company itself.
Here, Facebook clarifies that its verification tick is not that – it’s a marker of notable accounts based on specific criteria. Which it seeks to further explain in this overview
In basic terms, in order to qualify for verification on Facebook and/or Instagram:
- Your account must represent a real person, registered business or entity
- Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. Notable entities (for example pets or publications) are also eligible
- Only one account per person or business may be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts
- Your account must be public and have a bio, profile photo and at least one post
- Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched-for person, brand or entity.
The last part is the key stumbling point for many – while you may be influencer in your community, or you may have built a strong social media presence, the qualifiers here (‘well-known’ and ‘highly searched for’) remove some of the ambiguity around who qualifies and who does not.
You can’t just have a big audience, you have to have a level of media presence or status, which Facebook’s assessment team can then check in on to determine your eligibility for the tick.
Though Facebook has added some additional considerations:
“We verify accounts that are featured in multiple news sources. We don't consider paid or promotional content as news sources. Across Instagram and Facebook, we recently expanded our list of news sources to include more diverse outlets including those from additional Black, LGBTQ+, Latinx media, and including more outlets from around the world for example.”
So Facebook has added more publication outlets that can be considered within this process, in order to expand verification access to important spokespeople in a wider breadth of communities. But still, the key qualifier remains media mentions, and recognition by media outlets as a relevant person of note.
So what does verification actually give you, if you do qualify?
One thing it doesn’t provide is extra reach or priority:
“Being verified doesn’t mean that your content is favored by our systems in terms of where your content shows up.”
Of course, most verified people are famous, so their content does, based on engagement signals, end up appearing more prominently in most apps anyway. But Facebook clearly states here that it doesn’t give these accounts any extra priority in ranking, based on verification status.
So if you were hoping to ‘beat the algorithm’ by obtaining the vaunted blue checkmark, technically, it won’t have any impact.
Facebook also notes that Verified accounts can’t change their account’s name or transfer that verification onto a different person or entity, while it also works to detect those selling verified accounts to others.
“We conduct regular sweeps both on and off the platform to find and remove malicious actors from Instagram.”
With all this in mind, there clearly are benefits to having the blue tick, if you qualify, and Facebook also notes that it’s working to make the checkmark more visible across the platform, making it easier to identify posts and comments from notable Pages and profiles.
Having that extra level of assurance does provide clear benefit, but Facebook is working to provide a more clear, solidified overview of who qualifies for the mark, why they qualify, and how those who meet those requirements can get a blue tick.
There are some fairly steep requirements here, but really, there should be, because if there wasn’t, then the marker itself would lose meaning, and it wouldn’t hold the same value that it does right now.
Which is why scammers are always trying to get a hold of accounts with a blue tick, and why every app is always flooded with applications. There should be tough benchmarks to reach, as that ensure the value of the marker remains high, and only recognizes the truly notable community members within each app.
That might mean that you personally don’t qualify (and me too), but the reason that marker does hold meaning is because Facebook has such requirements in place.
You can read more about Facebook’s updated verification approach here and here.