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The School Newspaper of Texas High School

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The School Newspaper of Texas High School

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Vying for verification

Student examines use of Instagram checkmarks
It’s not uncommon for people to try to mimic celebrities social media accounts. Checkmarks illuminate the risk of a fake or fan account being mistaken for a real account. (photo illustration)

In the chronically online culture we live in, the idea of getting a social leg up on our peers is an alluring topic. With social media being a major part of all of our lives mixed with influencer culture introducing new career fields and pipelines to celebrity status, being ‘recognizable’ has become obsessively sought after. For this reason, most platforms have ‘verification’, where notable influential platforms get blue checkmarks next to their names to prove their authenticity.

One such example of this is former Texas High student John Thomas Borowitz, who received his blue checkmark towards the end of his senior year.

“One day I was walking out of physics class my senior year and I checked Instagram and when I opened the app, a full page ad popped up saying, ‘You have been selected by Meta for their verification program. Follow these three simple steps to receive your check mark,’” Borowitz said. “I had to verify my name and date of birth, submit my drivers license to confirm my identity, then agree to the terms and conditions. It took about 48 hours and then I was verified.”

Meta verified is used in order to distinguish prominent athletes from those who may impersonate and/or mimic their accounts. 

A good example of this is the account of four-time NBA Champion LeBron James, who’s account handle, @KingJames, has a blue check mark next to it to identify it as him. If not for the check, accounts such as @Lebron or @LebronJames (which are impersonation accounts) could easily post media and quotes as him that have inaccuracies and fabrications.

Another advantage is proving your legitimacy in niche circles and reaching out to prominent figures in a more streamlined way. Jackson Haltom, former Texas High student and videographer for Texas A&M University, uses it as a medium for connecting with creatives in the field faster and easier.

“I utilize my verification by networking with people in my industry as much as possible.” Haltom said. “Since being verified, I have received a lot more recognition for my work and it has opened so many doors and opportunities for me.”

However, a downside of verification is the appearance of being ‘Instagram Elite’.

“I feel like many people get verified just to look better than others,” senior Zain Suelzer said. “They think just because they have the little blue check they’re instantly going to become famous and prominent.”

With the advantages of enhanced connections mixed with prominent recognition, verification is rightfully sought after by those wishing to be noticed.

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About the Contributor
Blaise Larry-Cox
Blaise Larry-Cox, Culture Editor
Blaise Larry-Cox is a senior and second year Publications member. He is the Culture Editor, a first year photographer and the producer of the THS podcast, Breaking Snooze. Outside of publications he is in Model UN, STUCCO, and multiple other things that look good on a college resume. He would love to help anyone with anything, because he definitely doesn't already have enough to do! He plans on helping the program win awards such as Gold Crown and Pacemaker in order to cement Texas High as the best publication in Texas. In his free time you can find him editing videos and photos for his instagram account, @blaisefilms, or grilling, which he annoyingly posts on his Snapchat story, “Tonight’s Dish”.

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