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Some Instagram Employees Sell Verification For Thousands of Dollars (mashable.com) 56

An anonymous reader shares a report from Mashable, written by Kerry Flynn: "I mean if Mashable wants to pay for it, I can get you a blue check over night," reads a recent Twitter direct message. This is a guy who knows a guy, a middleman in the black market for Instagram verification, where anyone from a seasoned publicist to a 22-year-old digital marketer will offer to verify an account -- for a price. The fee is anywhere from a bottle of wine to $15,000, according to a dozen sources who have sold verification, bought verification for someone else, or directly know someone who has done one or the other. "These guys pay all their bills from one to two blue checks a month," another message from the middleman added later. The product for sale isn't a good or a service. It's a little blue check designated for public figures, celebrities, and brands on Instagram. It grants users a prime spot in search as well as access to special features. More importantly, it's a status symbol. But it's clear from people who spoke on the condition of anonymity, many of whom have their own blue checkmarks, that a black market for Instagram verification is alive and well. "Instagram has helped create this underground market," the report adds. "While anyone can apply for verification on Facebook and on Twitter, Instagram has made itself exclusive and therefore rather elitist. Influencers who have press clippings and work with big brands on sponsorship deals often can't manage to get that elusive blue checkmark, according to several verified and unverified influencers and people who have sold verification."
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Some Instagram Employees Sell Verification For Thousands of Dollars

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  • instawhat? (Score:4, Funny)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @02:18PM (#55133589)

    Instagram? Isn't that just yet another facetube wannabe?

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      So there are people actually using instagram or facebook? I thought both were some kind of narcissist heaven.

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Beats me, but I think you're right. Nice name by the way. I love JMJ.

      • Re:instawhat? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @04:15PM (#55134001)

        So there are people actually using instagram or facebook? I thought both were some kind of narcissist heaven.

        In case you hadn't noticed by the scores of brainless idiots making six figures doing nothing more than whoring themselves out on social media, it pays to be a narcissist these days.

        • In case you hadn't noticed by the scores of brainless idiots making six figures doing nothing more than whoring themselves out on social media, it pays to be a narcissist these days.

          Yeah but it's pretty much like regular whoring. You can make some money but you end up with a lot less self esteem at the end of it all.

          • Yeah but it's pretty much like regular whoring. You can make some money but you end up with a lot less self esteem at the end of it all.

            Probably. And when you get older and your tits get saggy, you need to find something else.

  • Or do companies like Twitter also have employees who will yank a target's blue checkmark for a fee (assuming a halfway plausible excuse exists)?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If anything, all this does is prove that any "legit" checkmarks are now (and perhaps always have been) 100% worthless as a measure of trust, since it can be easily purchased via social engineering / black market.

      • Of course it never had any credibility to begin with. If anything it's a mark of derision. "Ohhh... Another non-profitable Unicorn Venture Capital company gave their Blue Check of approval to this "Influencer with press clippings who works with big brands" ...Guess I'd better buy what THEY'RE selling!!!" Having it be openly purchasable is if anything refreshingly honest. It's the equivalent of vanity licence plate "ooh, I'm special!"
  • So, some people behave badly. Other people fund poor behavior. Nobody's putting a gun to their heads... it's done voluntarily. That said, glad to know what the title blue checkmark is worth, or not worth, as the case may be.

    • The story isn't that some people behave badly, it's that other people designed a system that is reliant on people not behaving badly for security, which is pretty braindead.
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      The story (which still isn't terribly surprising) is that there are no effective checks and balances against the bad behavior.

  • Since they didn't have any way to verify the verifications, this seems to be designed as a fringe benefit for the employees.

    Or they are too stupid to not think out the ramifications of their process ahead of time, Which is of course, more likely, and scarier when you imagine all the other things they didn't foresee, like security, privacy...

    I'm guessing the workers doing the verification aren't paid much more than the janitors...

  • Another great place to waste your time. Hopefully it will disintegrate as it's stock is doing.
    • I commute via train every day. Here's what everybody under 25 is doing during the whole darn train ride: Either scrolling aimlessly on instagram, or look at their own pictures. So with like everything that's cool, you have to wait for the next generation.
  • Yet one more example why Instagram is the most over-rated piece of crap app out there..ugh..I have no idea how this garbage became so popular, it's an abysmal platform from nearly any perspective.

    • The target market is stupid people and they don't care. It's exactly why Apple are so rich. Fools and money etc...
  • by yorgasor ( 109984 ) <ron.tritechs@net> on Monday September 04, 2017 @12:01AM (#55135267) Homepage

    Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches-
    Had bellies with stars.
    The Plain-Belly Sneetches-Had none upon thars.

    Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
    You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

    But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
    Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.
    With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
    “We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
    And whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
    They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

  • Occam's razor say the majority of these offers are scams.

Moneyliness is next to Godliness. -- Andries van Dam

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