Twitter Holds Verified Accounts For Ransom—For $15,000 In Ads

ransom demand note

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Twitter is refusing to verify user accounts as real unless someone either disputes a fake Twitter account or spends more than $15,000 advertising on the microblog service. Andy Cohn, publisher of The Fader, discovered the ransom demand when he attempted to get verification of his magazine’s Twitter streams, which have 73,000 followers. Ad Age reported:When he asked a Twitter sales rep who had been in contact with him how to go about it, she replied that the only paths to verification are if an account has had impersonation issues or is an advertiser who’s spent at least $15,000 over three months.

Verified accounts on Twitter made headlines last week when Twitter admitted it mistakenly verified a fake account for Wendi Deng, wife of Rupert Murdoch. Currently, Twitter has suspended its verified accounts system, which places a blue checkmark against any well-known user account where it is able to confirm the authenticity of the author.

The only way to get a verified badge is if someone pretends to be you on Twitter, you dispute the authorship, and Twitter decides that you are indeed you (at least on Twitter). In the meantime, Twitter, says:

“This program is currently closed to the public. This means we are not able to accept public requests for verification.”

UPDATE: Jamie Klingler, publishing manager at London’s ShortList Media, tells us he’s had no problem getting business accounts for @stylistmagazine @shortlist and @emeraldstreet verified recently. “The process may be closed for individuals rather than businesses,” he says.