February 23, 2023
Social media is great. I work in it, so, of course, I’m going to say that, but it really is great. There’s a platform for everyone, whether it’s photos, video, news, connection with old school friends, or expanding your professional network, there’s a platform for you.
What’s not so great, however, is how social media platforms have all got an eye on one another at all times, waiting for the newest feature they can take for their own platform e.g. Instagram Reels launching after the success of TikTok.
In all fairness, it would be silly of them as a business not to watch competitors, but sometimes it ends up being to the detriment of what makes that platform unique.
This is exactly what Instagram and Facebook have done this month with the introduction of a fee for blue tick verification on the platform; following in the footsteps of Twitter.
What is the blue tick?
At its core, the blue tick is a way of Instagram and Twitter verifying that the person tweeting or posting is that person or body – usually a public figure or an official account for an organisation.
But the blue tick is also referred to – in the social media world – as a status symbol. It’s something that any influencer or celebrity wants to have on their profile. And if you’ve ever worked on a fashion brand’s social media account, you’ll probably know the excitement of telling your client that a well-known ‘blue tick’ has tagged themselves with one of your client’s products.
What’s so nightmarish about it?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Twitter recently introduced a monthly fee that allowed any ol’ Twitter user to buy a blue or gold (for brands/companies) verification tick for their profile. Which of course, went exactly as you’d have imagined.The fee came as a shock to many existing blue tick verified users, who were all peeved, to say the least. But others were also concerned because it now left themselves and their community exposed to misinformation and reputation risks. Any user could now change their username to a brand or public figure’s name, buy a blue tick and then start putting out tweets to make it look like the real account in question had tweeted it; risking potentially irreparable damage to their reputation or spreading misinformation.
This is exactly what happened to pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, who fell victim to a fake, blue tick Twitter account posing as them.
The fake tweet announced that their insulin was now free. The tweet gained around 11k likes before seemingly causing their stock share price to fall significantly.
Eli Lilly’s insulin was most certainly not free, and they were left to pick up the pieces and try to salvage the situation with an apology to clear everything up. But because the initial tweet came from a verified account, many users didn’t believe their apology.
And so the nightmare continues…
Instagram saw that Twitter was charging a fee for something they also provide, and that users were not only paying to keep theirs, but also that new users were paying to join the blue tick club.
And so, we now have Instagram rolling out a fee globally for a silly little blue tick.
Stay tuned for the Instagram fallout!!!