The issue of paid verification stirred the world of social media; new subscription plans have opened doors for fake and unreliable accounts spreading misinformation and have haemorrhaged reputations of multinationals, celebrities as well as heads of State
Fake profiles with fake news have found a very strong voice in traditional and online media of late, coupled with the fact that one of the largest social media platforms is charging people for their profile verification. It is not a leap to say that that authenticity is no longer verifiable.
The issue of paid verification stirred the world of social media; new subscription plans have opened doors for fake and unreliable accounts spreading misinformation and have haemorrhaged reputations of multinationals, celebrities as well as heads of State. Several fake accounts started floating on the platform with ‘blue ticks’, impersonating individuals and companies. Tweets from such imposter accounts resulted in economic and reputation decline for affected entities.
Recently, an account with the verification badge, posing as the official account of Lockheed-Martin tweeted “halt weapon sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel pending further investigation into their human rights records”. This subsequently wiped out a few billion from the company’s market cap and its shares fell by 5.5 per cent. In another instance, a user who had purchased the verification badge, posing as the official account of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, tweeted “We are excited to announce insulin is free now”, resulting in the pharma giant losing USD15 billion from their market cap.
Considering these recent developments, it is important to turn the conversation towards other social media platforms, specifically towards short video platforms and the ‘creator economy’ that they have been building over years. Users on these platforms see ‘blue tick’ with pride, as a sense of achievement. If these status symbols are up for grabs for anyone who is willing to pay, it becomes a hurdle for genuine creators to gain recognition from their content.
Social media serves as a means for personal gratification and a tool for creating an identity and gaining recognition. The paid verification system would have a severe impact on the creator economy. Creators and users from the grassroots of India use social media platforms, especially short video platforms/apps to create an identity for themselves. This recognition takes years of hard work, innovation, and content generation. We at Tiki have been working towards the same by building a credible platform for genuine creators. Like our peers in the industry, we have been helping these creators gain recognition for their talent, thus creating a healthy ecosystem that helps the creator economy flourish. Social media platforms are putting in a lot of effort to foster sustainable creator communities on their platforms. They have been creating massive creator funds to drive growth, empowerment and innovation in the sector.
At Tiki, our verification process inspires the creators to put out genuine, original content and eventually earn verified status on the platform through clearly defined metric achievements. The system works by devising some proof of work that depends on some actual skill to differentiate among users.
User-generated content (UGC) is the foundation of a sound social media ecosystem. Social media harbours a healthy and stable ecosystem as long as they act as a referee and not as a player simultaneously. A healthy ecosystem cannot be achieved if the platforms keep manipulating the core principles of social media. Monetising ‘blue ticks’ or verified status is harmful to a healthy ecosystem. If paid verification comes into play as a mainstream concept, it will hamper the advancement of a creator economy that several social media platforms have heavily been contributing towards. This will result in genuine creators being left without any sense of incentive or inspiration as a previously coveted status that was available after achieving certain milestones, would now be merely bought for a price by anyone. Consequently, the entire social media ecosystem needs to come together, deliberate whether this is the right way forward and take an informed decision that is best for all stakeholders in this value chain.
We believe in a sustainable ecosystem that platforms by the creators and for the creators shall not perish from the earth.