According to Digital Trends, Twitter has removed its verification badge, due to the organisation no longer advertising with Twitter. Although Twitter has said in responses to users that it “currently verifies government accounts, accounts at risk of identity confusion or impersonation and a select number of business accounts for alpha testing,” it responded to a Digital Trends support request as follows:
“Verification is something we offer our active advertisers meeting the $5K/month minimum spend associated with our Platform Partnership. […] If you were to re-visit Promoted Products further down the road and were able to meet that $5K/month minimum, this verification would be reinstated.”
Although Twitter’s verification system has always been opaque, its usage as a ‘reward’ of sorts for advertising appears to be new, and Digital Trends argued this aspect is not covered by nor stated in the company’s terms and conditions. Furthermore, Digital Trends wondered what would happen if you paid but took a break from advertising and said it’s time for Twitter to make the process of verification and the requirements thereof more transparent.
But Twitter isn’t the only company experimenting with means of getting payment from its users. Stuff.co.nz discovered that Facebook has been testing payments for highlighted posts, with charges ranging from zero to $2 for making a post more prominent (via a yellow background) within news feeds.
In both cases, it’s clear online services are increasingly concerned about making more money from users. And as with Facebook’s purchase of Instagram, it highlights the dangers of investing in a free platform that needs to make money out of its users somehow, because they’re not paying for the general service.
Twitter did not respond to requests from Digital Trends for its original article, nor our requests for information regarding this article.