PSA: The "verified" symbol you see on Twitter etc means absolutely nothing on Mastodon or the Fediverse. On here, symbols like are just custom emoji that anyone can use and put after their name. Don't be fooled! 😁
There are ways to verify your identity on here, but the symbol is not one of them.
The easiest way to verify your identity is if you have a website that people already know is yours. You can paste a special code into your website which will verify your address and it will turn green on your Mastodon profile (see here for instructions: https://mstdn.social/@feditips/106274105538953001).
Alternatively, you can set up a server as a subdomain of your known website address. For example, the European union set up their own Mastodon server at https://social.network.europa.eu, and we know it really is the EU because the server address is part of the EU's well-known europa.eu domain.
p.s. If you want to see an example of a verified link on Mastodon, try looking at the profile of @libreoffice
Unfortunately the verified links aren't visible on the official apps yet, so you would need to do this via the website or a third party app.
I've included a screenshot so you can see what I mean.
@feditips the :verified: symbol on people's username really irks me. My dude, you're not on twitter anymore, why are you doing this?? 🥲
Yeah, the self-hosted server works on any platform. The address proves you own the site the domain leads to.
And yes, there are many accounts have their own instances proving their identity.
The biggest one after EU is probably the German government with an official Masto server at https://social.bund.de
@feditips on bird site a blue check indicates the opinion of the poster is probably worthless... in fediverse a blue check is actually worthless 👍😁
That's basically how the verification system works, you just need to include the code number along with the link to your account.
@feditips when does it check for the verification links? I added the link, but it doesn't show yet, but maybe it takes a while?
By the way, I'm wondering if the verification might be affected by your Masto link being in a dropdown menu? Maybe it can't "see" the link there?
You could try putting the link into somewhere else where it isn't in a menu. It only has to be there while you do the verification, you can remove it afterwards.
@feditips Ah, good to know it doesn't have to be there permanently. Thanks!
I'll add it properly and see when it picks it up.
Yeah, it only has to be there at the moment you click "save changes" within Mastodon. That starts the process of looking at the site and seeing if the rel tag is there.
(You would have to add it back there when you next alter the metadata though, otherwise it won't find the tag.)
@feditips so it should pretty much be instant then if you get it right? I'll have to try something else then, cause it's not picking up the link yet.
Yeah, it works straight away.
One thing that caught me out when I first used it, I did the steps in the wrong order.
You have to put the rel me code into your website, and save/update your own website, and THEN go into Mastodon and save your address in the metadata section. It has to be this way round, because the Masto metadata saving process is what makes it check whether the code is there.
If you put the code on your site after saving the metadata, Masto won't know to check the updated site.
@feditips I found the problem. The check found the first link in the menu, and didn't bother looking for the other one in the footer. That one has the rel="me" attribute, but the first one doesn't (because WordPress doesn't allow you to set it).
So I temporarily removed the menu link, saved the page, and then ran the check again. It turned green right away. :)
Thanks for the tips!
@feditips Yes I did. I also put it in the footer, without text in the link ;) It should find it, but maybe not having text in the link isn't allowed?
@feditips It's not possible to put the rel="me" attribute in the menu item, so I added another "hidden" link on the page, without text.
@feditips In my opinion, that's a horrible system. People know to look for the check mark for verified accounts, and all this does is confuse people. If you want Mastodon to grow, stuff like this needs to be changed.
I know it seems like a "why change something that works?" situation, but there is an important reason for verification working this way.
Simple check mark systems require a central authority which could then be bought out by Musk or Zuckerberg or Google or whoever. If that happens, they could use it as leverage over the whole network (e.g. "We'll only verify people who are on our own approved servers" etc).
The point of verifying identity through website ownership is that it doesn't require any central authority, so there is no way for such a system to be bought out by nasty people.
Once you get used to it, website ownership is pretty good at telling you who is real, and it keeps us safe from rich megalomaniacs.
@darrsil perhaps we've been confusing in this thread, so I'll be more clear: there is no verification. No one here is verified. There is no verification process.
People are putting blue checks in their display name because it's funny.
Most people here don't even use their nicknames, let alone their government-approved names.
What would verification accomplish?
The problem is new users who come from other platforms will think the blue checks are verified people. It stops being "funny" when someone starts acting malicious. See the issue?
@darrsil when someone acts maliciously, be sure to report them. I don't understand what verification has to do with this.
It's not about verification, it's about pretending to be verified.
Don't want any verification? Cool, then make that clear when you search for people that the blue check mark means literally nothing.
Because new people from other platforms will think that blue check is a verified account, which can be used maliciously.
@darrsil Maybe it's because I've been here a while, or maybe it's any other shortsightedness on my part, but: how does one use a claim to verification maliciously?
Let's say someone comes on here saying they're Google and uses the blue check, pretending to be verified.
They then post a malicious link saying it's an update for Android.
New users, not knowing the account isn't truly verified, clicks the link and installs the malicious app.