9 May 2023 How to News Platforms Social media

Social media verification: what are the current options?

Verified symbol on yellow background

Much has been made about Elon Musk’s Twitter removing blue ticks from previously verified accounts and changing what verification may even mean going forward. A lot of it is noise. Delving deeper, you’ll see that Meta’s new approach is similar. People seem to want to be verified for a variety of reasons, so what are the current options?


We may as well start here seeing this is where all the hoo-hah is.

Normal people like you and I can subscribe to Twitter Blue, a paid tier of Twitter that is more than just a blue tick. It includes content prominence, the ability to edit tweets, write longer tweets, format them and even unsend them within a time limit.

As part of the subscription, your account will be verified. As far as I can tell, Twitter can’t verify that you are who you say you are. Indeed, there are numerous examples of accounts being verified that are clearly impersonating someone else. But, if you submit a phone number and pay the monthly subscription fee, you’ll get that blue tick.

Example of a Twitter Blue verified account

If you have more than one million followers, you may also receive a complimentary Twitter Blue subscription. There’s no differentiation in label when someone taps the checkmark between whether it’s been gifted or whether it’s paid for – so some have stated they don’t want the tick.

All a bit of a mess, really.

Straightforward, though, right? Hmm. Let’s add in grey and gold ticks.

Grey ticks are plastered on to governmental or institutional accounts. So, you’ll see Rishi Sunak and The Royal Family’s accounts given grey ticks and a label showing they are affiliated to an organisation or government body.

An example of a Gold verified Twitter account

Commercial organisations can apply for a gold tick at a cost of over £1000 per month. This allows them to advertise, receive the other benefits of Twitter Blue and affiliate other accounts to theirs. According to Musk, lower tier options for smaller businesses are coming.

Example of a grey tick on a Twitter account

Meta (Instagram/Facebook)

While Twitter may have stuck their head above the parapet, Meta has kept its verification changes a bit more low-key, probably wishing to avoid the same backlash and happy to let Twitter take the heat.

Meta is making changes that aren’t too dissimilar to how Twitter sees it. For now, these changes are being tested in the US, Australia and New Zealand, but I think it’s likely they’ll come over here. On that basis, I’ll talk about current UK options and what’s happening elsewhere.

For now, in the UK, Facebook verification is in Meta’s gift and will apply to pages that either have a significant following or where they can identify the page relates to, and is owned by, a person of significance – and by that, I mean famous.

The official criteria here requires you to be:

  • Authentic – a real person, business or entity
  • Unique – the only presence on the platform
  • Complete – your page has to be complete
  • Notable – well known and searched for person or entity

If you think this is you, you can apply here.

You may already apply for verification on Instagram through the app. You will be required to submit formal government-issued identification and/or official business documents, such as Articles of Incorporation and registered trademarks. More info here.

The new Meta Verified service, currently being tested, gives you specific benefits:

  • Verified badge (blue tick)
  • Proactive account monitoring
  • Direct account support
  • 100 Stars per month (to show support to other creators)
  • Exclusive content such as stickers

In the regions that this is already available, government-issued ID is required and users need to submit a selfie video, presumably so the manual verification checkers can validate the application.

Interestingly, you must apply for Facebook and Instagram separately – twice the price and twice the revenue for Meta.


TikTok says that number of followers is not what gets someone verified, although I’m sure it’s a big part of it for those content creators with large followings. It’s not currently planning to charge for verification.

The requirements are very similar to Meta, so I won’t list them again here, but there is also a requirement for your account to have multi-factor authentication in place – which seems reasonable.

Accounts may request verification from within the app. The process depends on whether it is a business or personal account. You may not have the option to request verification – this could be because of your region. Further info from TikTok can be found here.


Like most additional features on YouTube, you’ll need to hit eligibility criteria before you can apply for verification (which is free).

There are two meanings to verification at YouTube: the account and the channel. Applying for verification for the channel is something every channel manager should do as this allows the account to:

  • Upload videos longer than 15 minutes
  • Add custom thumbnails
  • Live stream
  • Appeal Content ID claims

The process is started here and you’ll need to verify with a phone number.

To verify your channel, and get a grey tick, you’ll first need at least 100,000 subscribers. You’ll need to make sure your channel is public, has a banner, description and profile picture. The channel will need to be active and the video content needs to authentically reflect your identity.


The verification process at Pinterest is currently paused and under review, likely as a result of the Twitter chaos. In my experience, Pinterest is an inclusive and conscientious company and will want to avoid getting this wrong.

Example of a retailer merchant on Pinterest

It does have verified accounts. Blue ticks display on verified merchants (info here) and red ticks indicate accounts representing authentic people or brands that are not merchants.

Example of a red tick brand account on Pinterest


Always wanting to be different, LinkedIn is currently rolling out a way of verifying certain information about your personal profile in the form of a green and blue check mark on the relevant bits, such as verified work email, but falls short of offering an overall verified badge like the other platforms.

Screenshots of different LinkedIn screens showing parts that contain verification.

LinkedIn uses third party tools to verify, one of which is Microsoft Entra. You can see how this works below:

You can remove verfications from your profile if you wish.

This is a great LinkedIn article from the Vice President of Product Management at LinkedIn on ways in which they are dealing with security issues around profiles and preventing impersonation.

The benefits of verification for businesses and key people of influence are clear: protect the profile and brand from impersonation and prevent customers and clients being hoodwinked into taking action they will later regret. As is obvious from this article, and I feel like I’m constantly saying this, these are changeable times and what verification means now isn’t necessarily what it will mean in the future.

The furore around Twitter verification will settle down in due course, once Musk has chosen a path to monetising it. Until then, as a business, I would apply for verification if you can – there’s nothing to be lost in the process other than the time it takes.

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