The Toxicity Of Blue Tick Culture

Phaylen Fairchild
7 min readOct 1, 2018

When Twitter introduced its verification program, it was simply to provide confidence in communication and authenticate the identities of notable, oft impersonated public figures. By 2018, the ever elusive verification checkmark became an elitist club who were guaranteed priority placement in news feeds, “Who to follow” suggestions and hashtag searches.

And now, Twitter have gifted those baring the blue badge of honor an even greater privilege- advertising to the casual user by inserting their posts into the newsfeeds of users who don’t follow them to encourage expanse of influence to those who already have it.

I started seeing random people showing up in my timeline a few weeks ago; Names I didn’t recognize who had posted benign statuses that were entirely irrelevant to me or my interests. These posts contained a small header informing me that someone I follow also follows this individual implying that I should too. I imagine it was about this time that people branded with the verified check mark saw a significant spike in followers as well, purely for having had the benefit of this free advertising.

Celebrities of any measure, some not really being celebrities at all, but perhaps some guy who wrote an article published in the Huffington Post in 2010, are dominating Twitter, influencing trending topics and controlling the overall algorithm as Twitter favors these accounts for no other reason than they have, when it was possible, verified their identity or had it done, by twitter on their behalf when deemed a person of public interest.

Even in a search for the simple common name “Frank” the first suggestion in the results are all those who have been knighted by twitter as relevant, essentially presuming you, the searcher, must mean one of these Franks.

Hashtags now work the same way. In searching for a simple, innocuous hashtag such as the word “Holiday,” the user will find random people placed strategically in the “Who to Follow”…

Phaylen Fairchild

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright