Becoming verified on Twitter is far from easy these days, as the site revealed in February 2018 that it had paused its public verification process going forward (though some celebrities and other major public figures can still be verified automatically). Twitter is working on a new authentication and verification program, but until those details have been unveiled, get used to being stuck without a checkmark if you don’t already have one. And if you do already have that coveted blue symbol, make sure you don’t change your handle and accidentally lose your Twitter verification, as that’s a surefire way to cause it to happen.
Although you can alter your email address, photo, bio, and actual name on Twitter and still remain verified (as long as nothing violates the site’s terms of conduct — more on that below), changing your handle, aka the name directly following your “@” sign, will unfortunately lead to your verification badge being removed. This is a hard and fast rule that Twitter has had in play since 2012, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be going away anytime soon.
Because your handle is meant to be a unique identifier that makes you you on Twitter, it’s understandable that the site doesn’t take changing it lightly, but it’s frustrating that it results in losing your verification. After all, the other things that lead to this action are much more serious, such as breaching Twitter’s terms of conduct. The site can remove users’ verification without notice at any time — and even potentially ban their accounts — if they’re found engaging in hate speech, promoting violence against others, inciting or engaging in harassment, sharing violent or disturbing imagery, or promoting self-harm or suicide.
According to the official verification FAQ from Twitter, users can also lose their verification status if they’re found to be “intentionally misleading people on Twitter” by changing their display names or bios to include fraudulent information. If verified users are impersonating others for any reason, they should expect their checkmarks to be taken away, as soon as Twitter finds out.
Twitter also states that people may lose their verified badges if “changes to the profile settings modify the account’s original purpose.” While no more details on this are given, it likely means that if you originally used your Twitter solely as a serious political news account, for instance, but now use it to post jokes and Game of Thrones reacts, the sudden shift might grab the site’s attention and potentially jeopardize your verified status. This is understandable, since the entire point of verification is to help make personalities of public interest easier to spot and confirm it’s actually them.
Going private, too, can mean losing your Twitter verification — as does doing nothing at all. According to Follows.com, you can potentially be un-verified if you don’t use Twitter for a long time, which makes perfect sense since there’s no point in the site highlighting an account that hasn’t been active in months or years.
There may be a lot of things that can lead to un-verification, but don’t forget that you can change your profile photo, email address, bio, actual name, and various privacy settings that don’t include locking your tweets down completely. Changing your name can be a good alternative to changing your handle, as it’s the more “official” of the two monikers, anyway. So if you’ve just gotten your legal name changed or have decided to go by a nickname, for example, you can change your Twitter name to reflect that — just make sure to not mess with your handle, if you want to keep that verified checkmark.