Facing a lawsuit with Tony La Russa, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, who complained about someone impersonating him on the site, Twitter is implementing a Verified Accounts process.
La Russa sued Twitter in early May for cybersquatting, trademark infringement and misappropriation of his name and likeness, after someone registered the handle "tonylarussa" on Twitter and posed as the Cardinals manager. The suit has been settled out of court, according to La Russa, though Twitter continues to deny any settlement.
The purpose of Verified Accounts is to provide users with a sense of confidence about who they're actually following, curb legal problems similar to the La Russa situation in the future, and appease celebrities and brands that occasionally complain about impersonators on Twitter. (Former Reading Rainbow/Star Trek star LeVar Burton, for example, developed renown on the microblogging site after starting an account to combat his own impersonator.)
"Verified Accounts" shall serve as an official seal of legitimacy on the profiles of public officials, public agencies, famous artists, athletes, and other well-known personalities.
"We hope to verify more accounts in the future but due to the resources required, verification will begin only with a small set," the Twitter team wrote.
Verified Accounts launches this summer. It is not immediately evident how accounts will be verified in a way that enables it to scale in a practical way, but at the very least it will lend more transparency to regular users that may (or may not) be posing as brands, companies or prominent personages on Twitter.