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How Does Twitter Verify Celebrity Accounts?

Published on March 7, 2011
by Alexandra Cheney

While Twitter continues to give celebrities, athletes, musicians, actors and others a platform to directly connect with their fans, the social networking site remains tight-lipped about how it determines if those stars are really who they say they are.

The real Charlie Sheen joined Twitter on March 1. Prior to that, an imposter or “squatter,” as Twitter refers to those tweeting under a false name, had secured the handle @charliesheen. The faux Sheen was quickly removed and the former “Two and a Half Men” star slipped into the handle with a “verified” blue check on his account. He now has more than two million followers.

Twitter has 175 million users and counting and only select, mostly high-profile people are granted “verified” status. How are verified users vetted? Twitter refused to explain the process, saying via e-mail, “we continue to very selectively verify accounts most at risk for impersonation on a one-off and highly irregular basis.”

But what does that actually mean?

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