Justin Trudeau has one, and so does Bill Clinton, the Justice Department, Stephen Elop, Kanye West and Anil Dash.
On Tuesday, Twitter began accepting applications for its little blue checkmark, an icon that appears beside a user’s Twitter name and confirms that he is who he says he (or maybe also that he’s somebody).
“Our goal with this update is to help more people find great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for creators and influencers—no matter where they are in the world—to easily connect with a broader audience,” Tina Bhatnager, Twitter vice president of user services, shared in a July 19 blog post.
One of the first accounts to be “Verified,” she added, was @CDCGov, an updates feed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to “help citizens find authentic and accurate public health information straight from the source,” Bhatnager added.
In its Help Center, Twitter adds that Verified accounts come with additional filters in the notifications tab. These can help filter out spam or offensive users.
Twitter offered no reason for the debut of the feature, but it arrives as the actor and comedian Leslie Jones announced she was taking a break from Twitter, after experiencing a deluge of racist comments, following the opening of the movie “Ghostbusters,” in which she stars alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig.
An account posing as hers was also posting offensive content that encouraged the terrible responses and initially had Jones scrambling to figure out why people were saying she’d said things that she hadn’t.
Jones began re-tweeting the tweets to call attention to the accounts, and calling on others to also push back.
“Stop letting the ignorant people be the loud ones. Y’all I got more love than hate but they louder,” she tweeted July 18.
She also implored Twitter to do more.
“Twitter I understand you got free speech I get it. But there has to be some guidelines when you let spread like that,” she wrote.
Shortly afterward, she added, “Profiles [show] that some of these people are crazy sick. It’s not enough to freeze Acct. They should be reported.”
On July 19, after tweeting, “Please help me find this fake Acct posting the most awful shit in my name. Help!” Jones posted a final tweet.
“I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart. All this cause I did a movie. You can hate the movie but the shit I got today … wrong.”
In its Help Center, Twitter notes that Verified accounts “become targets for hacking or phishing,” and users should take security precautions, such as turning on login verification, making sure the email address associated with the account is secure and frequently reviewing which apps have access to the account.
According to USA Today, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey—a blue-badge-wielding Verified user—”invited Jones to contact him directly.”
Jones’ account now also has a blue badge.