Alexandra Teachout
July 11, 2023

Identity verification goes mainstream

But it is only a small part of the story

Identity verification goes mainstream

Last week, Meta launched their Twitter rival, Threads. Alongside this launch was another rollout, Meta Verified. According to Meta´s website,  “With Meta Verified, you get verification with a government ID, proactive account protection, access to direct account support and more. Get these exclusive benefits on Instagram or Facebook for USD $11.99 when you subscribe on web or USD $14.99 when you subscribe in the app”.  

It wasnt a surprising a move - nearly a year ago Twitter announced its account verification. For those of us in Identity and Access Management, verification feels like it is having its moment in the mainstream, albeit late. The industry has been tackling the issue for the last 20 years and upon looking further into the market, buyers can find over 60 vendors providing services. This makes sense, identity verification provides the strong foundation in which your organization begins to interact with your user base. Confirming or denying that a claimed identity is correct is a critical step in the journey of service delivery. As Gartner states, “Without effective authentication, the security of and trust in that person's digital interactions are deeply undermined.” 

While those of us in the industry understand that the investment in authentication protects the value of all other IAM services that happen after you “enter the door”, the  average citizen may not fully understand the value beyond fear of account impersonation. Given the rollout of new services, that threat alone still holds commercial legs. 

Is identity verification enough?

It depends! A valid argument could be made that this is indeed one of the most important steps to get right. In the eyes of social media users, impersonation, misinformation and your digital brand are important topics. The “digital you” is important to protect and I think we would be hard pressed to find someone that disagrees. From a commercial perspective, offering new paid subscription services to meet this demand is still valid. Meta verified is proving this point. Being verified no longer means you are a celebrity, it means you are you, and that matters. 

From a technology and innovation standpoint, verification feels like an old conversation.

It should be a table stakes feature, a right included in your interaction with any product. After all, shouldn't the protection of the digital you be a natural starting point for any social media experience? 

What happens after identity verification? 

The plot thickens, and particularly so for social media companies. If the past is any predictor of the future, the way  you interact with social media platforms, the data that you generate and the means in which this data is handled and shared, should be the next logical requirement from consumers. Companies rely on customer data to provide the best customer experiences but it should not come at the cost of scraping the social media graph without customers consent. 

For data controllers and social media companies, data is the lifeblood of customer experience. Today, companies are challenged with how to use and share data across a common ecosystem. More specifically, they are faced with business-critical yet seemingly conflicting topics - how to build trust, loyalty and personalized experiences that fuel growth in a world of fading cookies, regulations and privacy-conscious consumers. Trust has been broken with the modern customer. Finding an answer to rebuilding this trust and providing the mechanism for customers to share data to drive better experiences is paramount. Data sharing should feel natural, not creepy, and social media providers play an important part in this equation. Their market presence alone helps to drive (could better help drive) a dialogue around ethical data sharing. 

The answer lies in technology 

Thankfully, there are modern solutions to share data in easy, transparent and compliant ways. Throughout the summer we will be sharing the ways this is possible, the applications and different use cases as well as the benefits this brings to consumers and businesses. Innovation has moved beyond identity verification, it is time for us to start catching up in implementation! 

To learn more about our product, Trusted Data Sharing, look here:

Keep updated

Don’t miss a beat from your favourite identity geeks