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While X and Meta grapple with what verification should actually mean, Reddit is now also entering the verification fray, with new ‘Official’ labels now being displayed on some accounts, which signify confirmed identity.
As you can see in this example, the new ‘Official’ tag will be displayed on profiles which Reddit has communicated with, in order to validate their presence.
As explained by Reddit:
“Starting today, redditors may notice a small number of profiles with an “Official” label next to usernames, similar to how Flair appears across a subreddit. This new label is designed to increase transparency and help redditors, moderators, and communities quickly identify organizations and trust that these users are who they say they are.”
Reddit says that the labels are designed to help increase ‘authentic engagement between organizations and users’ by countering impersonation. So it’s verification under a different name, though Reddit isn’t charging for the marker, at least not yet.
“This is currently only available to a *very* small (double-digit) number of profiles belonging to organizations with whom we already have existing relationships, and who are interested in engaging with redditors and communities on our platform. These profiles will have an Official label appear next to their username wherever it shows up across Reddit.”
The marker could make it easier for brands to build their Reddit presence, by responding to comments and questions in the app related to their products and/or niche. Reddit is increasingly becoming a key destination for product research, for more and more consumers, and maybe, by providing a way for official brand accounts to interact, that could help to better guide people on key queries and concerns.
But it’s also more commercially aligned that Reddit has been in the past.
The platform has always been a relatively open community, where almost anything goes, but more recently, Reddit’s been cleaning up its act, ahead of a potential IPO at some stage.
Part of that has also included its recent API pricing increase, to enhance its business value, which has led to an ongoing user revolt, due to the impacts that it’s had on smaller developers, and Reddit management’s inflexibility in this respect.
That pushback has now even seen Reddit take control of some communities, which is likely to alienate at least some segment of its users. But Reddit’s standing firm, and weathering the storm – though updates like this are only likely to fuel concerns about Reddit’s increasingly commercial direction,
But verification makes sense. Not selling it, that devalues the whole thing, and I doubt that, in the end, commoditizing checkmarks will be worth the quick cash the apps will gain from such process. But having official brand markers could help Reddit improve interactions in the app, while also combating cheats who are paying more attention to how the platform is being used for product research, and seeking to trash competitors to gain an unfair advantage.