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Verified Twitter Accounts: Who Needs Them In Canada?

Posted on 9 June 2011

Peter Mansbridge joined Twitter recently. It caused a minor tizzy in the Canadian Twittersphere, as people speculated over whether or not this was the real thing. Hesitation to believe was particularly high as we’d been down this road before– a fake Mansbridge account had fooled people back in 2009.

You know what would have helped? A verification badge. Verifications are little blue checkmarks that appear next to accounts that indicate that yes, this is indeed the real deal. Twitter says:

Any account with a Verified Badge is a Verified Account. Twitter uses this to establish authenticity of well known accounts so users can trust that a legitimate source is authoring their Tweets.

Verification is used to establish authenticity for accounts who deal with identity confusion regularly on Twitter. Verified Accounts must be public and actively tweeting.

The moment joined Twitter, he had a verification badge.


Two months on, and we’re still taking at his word:

Of course, more people follow tabloids than news, so maybe it’s just that Twitter isn’t interested in verifying news anchors. Except a quick search finds no shortage of U.S.-based news anchors and correspondents with verified accounts. Reporters I’ve never heard of get that little checkmark.

Even if CBC’s national news anchor doesn’t get one, their national late-night host does:

But not:

A search for “governor” comes back with a slew of U.S. state leaders with the little checkmarks, but not a single provincial premier gets one.

They shouldn’t feel bad. In Canada, it seems the only politician worth verifying is Prime Minister Harper. Jack Layton may be the leader of the official opposition and one of the country’s longest-serving parliamentarians, but that doesn’t mean he warrants an identity check on Twitter.

Which means he’s not yet achieved the level of fame (or identity theft) associated with Justin Bieber:

Or even the CFL:

If you ever want some perspective on where various well-known Canadians sit on the global consciousness scale, that little blue badge (or lack of one) is a good way to get it.

By the way, you can follow me unverified as .

Filed under: Canada, social media

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