Needless to fight over verification on social media platforms!

BY: Enezer Anangfio
Shatta Wale and Samini

From music, movies, fashion, politics, religion, journalism, media and sports, many Ghanaian personalities have had their accounts on the micro blogging site, Twitter, photo sharing platform, Instagram and Facebook verified. News of verification is reported like any other news and treated seriously.

Over the past few months there has been noise and talk about verification on many of these sites, especially Twitter. 

There has been exchange of words between personalities who have been verified and others who are yet to see the verification mark near their usernames.

Last week, Shatta Wale was verified on Twitter after he was mocked by fellow Dancehall act, Samini who is a verified personality on that platform.  Prior to being verified, Shatta Wale was trolled by Samini when addressing an issue on Pluzz FM. 

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“I would have responded but was not sure which account was the official one because I didn’t see a blue tick. The ones I saw, none of them had a blue tick. Even my kids have verified accounts” he said confirming that, he more recognised than his competitor because he’s verified while his competitor was not.

Finally after he was verified, Shatta Wale’s reply to Samini was epic, "Those who deh chop verified for twitter abeg I cook finish come chop." 

The above clearly paints a perfect picture of what the verification is all about. Verification is virtually new in Ghana. Gone are the days when getting verified was newsworthy. 

So as to whether Shatta Wale paid for his verification after he was mocked by Samini is not my focus. I will, however, not rule out the possibility but the most important thing is that, he has the blue checkmark against his account. Let’s just leave it such as.

Twitter verification is the process that gets you that coveted blue checkmark next to your username on your Twitter profile and on all of your tweets. Both Instagram and Facebook have verified badges that also help people more easily find the public figures, celebrities and brands they want to follow or like their pages.

Until recently, verification was for a special few such as public figures, brands, people in the media, politics, sports, business and other high profile personalities. The number of followers the account has is not a factor in determining whether an account meets criteria for verification.

What has changed about the verification especially for Twitter which may have rendered the Samini/Shatta Wale banter pretty useless is the announcement by Twitter that it has opened the verification to the public.

To get an account verified, users must request a verified account on its website by filling out a form with a verified phone number and email address, a profile photo and additional information regarding why verification is required or helpful.

"We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification. " Twitter's vice president of user services, Tina Bhatnagar said.

Benefits of Having a Verified Account

My understanding is that the benefits of verified accounts differ from continent to continent. While finding out the benefits of verification to the Ghanaian, I stumbled on information which highlights the benefits of having your account verified. I reproduce part below…

“The main benefit of verification, of course, is the trust it comes with. When you’re verified, it’s Twitter saying, “yes, this account is who it claims to be.” This is very important when it’s incredibly easy to create an account with a minor typo or additional word in the URL, use the same display name and picture as another entity, and go on posing as that entity.”

“You see a lot of parody accounts on Twitter doing exactly this. There’s the infamous FoodNetwerk, the UnitedAirlanes airline parody, as well as various plays on celebrity names. Many celebs have usernames like @therealfirstname because their full name was taken or they didn’t like it. That alone isn’t a sign of trust, because other entities with their real names as usernames might have imposters using therealname usernames. It goes both ways.”

What Next After Verification

There is not much to be done for a verified account of any of the personalities mentioned above in Ghana as compared to those in America or Europe. A lot of money is being made as a result of having those verified accounts to back the huge followers.

I mean verification is a nice thing since it actually makes people know that, “yes, this account is who it claims to be” but it’s not such a big deal to have the blue checkmark on your account. I mean if your circumstance doesn’t change, why the hell must having a verified account be such a big deal?

I’m yet to know the benefits those already verified have accrued so far and I will also be interested in how being verified is going to help boost the careers of Samini and Shatta Wale. These days, verification can be bought, so why the noise about it? 

In this part of the world, verification only comes with one thing which is prestige and nothing else. Needless to fight over it.

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