What sets Verified Users apart? Insights, Analysis and Prediction of Verified Users on Twitter

by   Indraneil Paul, et al.

Social network and publishing platforms, such as Twitter, support the concept of a secret proprietary verification process, for handles they deem worthy of platform-wide public interest. In line with significant prior work which suggests that possessing such a status symbolizes enhanced credibility in the eyes of the platform audience, a verified badge is clearly coveted among public figures and brands. What are less obvious are the inner workings of the verification process and what being verified represents. This lack of clarity, coupled with the flak that Twitter received by extending aforementioned status to political extremists in 2017, backed Twitter into publicly admitting that the process and what the status represented needed to be rethought. With this in mind, we seek to unravel the aspects of a user's profile which likely engender or preclude verification. The aim of the paper is two-fold: First, we test if discerning the verification status of a handle from profile metadata and content features is feasible. Second, we unravel the features which have the greatest bearing on a handle's verification status. We collected a dataset consisting of profile metadata of all 231,235 verified English-speaking users (as of July 2018), a control sample of 175,930 non-verified English-speaking users and all their 494 million tweets over a one year collection period. Our proposed models are able to reliably identify verification status (Area under curve AUC > 99 list memberships, presence of neutral sentiment in tweets and an authoritative language style are the most pertinent predictors of verification status. To the best of our knowledge, this work represents the first attempt at discerning and classifying verification worthy users on Twitter.


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