November 29, 2022

The Case for the Blue Check Mark

By: Sofia Gluck

Social platforms should hand out blue checkmarks for everyone!

Accountability is arguably very, very important in the real world. Yet it seems like it doesn’t really apply digitally unless you’re a company, organization or an influential person. Why is that?

As of May 2021, anyone can get verified on Twitter, and I raise the question of why not make it mandatory?

It is important to note that now, while anyone can get verified, not everyone gets approved. Twitter has to accept your application. 

Currently, Twitter has a massive bot and troll problem. They have the potential to shape perceptions and dangerously spread misinformation. Learning how to spot them is not impossible but if everyone was required to be verified…would we have that problem? Speaking hypothetically of course, it is easy to say that it would solve the issue! Maybe when there is an urge to get verified, you wouldn’t find users who are not verified very credible. Maybe it can be a way to weed out social media users that are primarily there to cause havoc or run amuk on the platform. 

In a study by Pew research, regarding “The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity, and Fake News Online”, they questioned how people feel about the scope of the internet and how will public discourse online be shaped. 42% said that they expect “no major change” and 39% of respondents believe the online future will be shaped by negative activities such as harassment, trolling and disgust. Many people believe that the negative conditions will just persist if not get worse.

Almost everyone in our digital age has access to the internet. And with social media now, there is no stopping people from making an account and guising themselves as whoever they want. Whatever internet persona you want to be, there is no system of checking or regulating save for the reporting or block features made accessible to individuals. I think it’s a bit irresponsible on Twitter’s behalf. Especially now. It has been years that Twitter and various media platforms have been dealing with the same issues, with little if anything, to show for it. Opening up verification status is a step in the right direction but why not just implement it officially? Give a name and identity to everyone online and don’t worry about identity-less naysayers. Don’t make it easy to say absolutely anything without your name attached.

I think this would advocate for safer spaces online. It would let data be attributed to the right people and could potentially lead to less harm. It’s not an endorsement, the mistake that twitter made in 2017 of not communicating that did not help people see the value in verification. Now they have the opportunity to make the purpose of the checkmark clear, they should take it. I think it is a great opportunity to advocate for transparency rather than condone anonymous users.

In the days leading up to this blog post, Twitter was purchased by Elon Musk and that unfortunately means it’s in his hands now. He is a self-proclaimed advocate for free speech..but this article does an easy job of proving otherwise. The future of Twitter is largely undetermined but verification would be a step somewhere! 

Thanks for reading! For more info or to contact me visit my blog: sofiagluck.com

Photo note: “Tweet Up” by MDGovpics is marked with CC BY 2.0.

One thought on “The Case for the Blue Check Mark

  1. This is a super fascinating article with a lot of relevant information. As you mentioned, I am fascinated to see if and how this issue will change with Elon Musk. Making verification mandatory is an interesting idea that could lead to a safer platform. Furthermore, the blue check mark represents different things on different social media sites. For example, acquiring one on Instagram seems to be a completely different process.

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