Do you have an army of imposters online pretending to be you? Probably not, but now you can still request for a verified Twitter account.
On Tuesday, Twitter launched an official application process so that any account can be verified and receive a blue checkmark badge next to its username. Twitter users interested in applying should have a verified phone number and email address, as well as a profile photo that reflects the person or company branding.
Verified accounts get to filter their mentions to only see those from other verified accounts. But that seems to be the only real feature or perk that comes from having a blue badge–aside from bragging rights, of course. Additionally, verified accounts can’t be private, and the username must remain the same or you will have to seek verification all over again. If you are rejected, you can reapply after 30 days. Previously, the verification process was never clear-cut, and it seemed to require a direct connection to a Twitter rep.
Twitter originally launched these accounts to verify the authenticity of popular users, including celebs like @Oprah and organizations like @CDCGov. According to Twitter, your account will gain verification if the company finds it “in the public interest.” For example, it’s paramount to know that flu season information is coming directly from the CDC, or that it was in fact the real Kim Kardashian who “exposed” Taylor Swift.
Why this matters: Twitter may have been planning to launch this official verification process for a while, but it’s very timely right about now. This week, Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones was victim of Twitter trolls who went insofar as to mock-up fake Tweets to make it seem like Jones had written really awful things. Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had to get involved. The real Leslie Jones is now verified.