Twitter has introduced the first phase of its Verified Accounts program to help profile users confirm their accounts.
Following instances where celebrity users of the micro-blogging site were impersonated by imposters intent on harming their reputation or spreading malicious links, Mashable.com's Pete Cashmore claimed that those wishing to apply for verified status can visit the verified accounts help page.
Cashmore also claimed that high profile tweeters such as Ashton Kutcher and Oprah Winfrey, and himself, now carry the verified account logo and words.
The help page claims that with the feature users can easily see which accounts we know are ‘real' and authentic. That means that it has been in contact with the person or entity the account is representing and verified that it is approved, although this does not mean it has verified who is writing the tweets.
Twitter said: “The vast majority of accounts on the system are not impersonators, and we don't have the ability to check 100 per cent of them. For now, we've only verified a handful of accounts to help with cases of mistaken identity or impersonation.”
In a blog post last weekend, Twitter founder Biz Stone hit out at fake Twitter users who were claiming to be celebrities, and claimed that doing so ‘violates Twitter's Terms of Service and we take the issue seriously. We suspend, delete, or transfer control of accounts known to be impersonation'.
He claimed that the recent instances where Twitter pages were hacked or impersonated led to an opportunity to improve Twitter user experience and clear up confusion beyond simply removing impersonation accounts once alerted.
Stone said: “We'll be experimenting with a beta preview of what we're calling Verified Accounts this summer. The experiment will begin with public officials, public agencies, famous artists, athletes, and other well-known individuals at risk of impersonation. We hope to verify more accounts in the future but due to the resources required, verification will begin only with a small set.
“Please note that this doesn't mean accounts without a verification seal are fake, the vast majority of Twitter accounts are not impersonators. Another way to determine authenticity is to check the official website of the person for a link back to their Twitter account.”