Facebook Increases Public Service Verification to Improve Citizen Engagement

Jun 9, 2014

Facebook is now the first social media platform to start verifying all federal government pages with their signature blue checkmark using the Federal Social Media Registry API. The Federal Social Media Registry provides the singular source that allows social media platforms to quickly collect real government accounts—emphasizing the critical need to ensure the trust, quality and security of citizen engagement.

When the public searches for the new Central Intelligence Agency Facebook account, many different accounts pop up—but only one of them is managed by the actual CIA. Now, with a widespread verification system in place, citizens can identify the real government account by a blue checkmark. They can be more certain that the public services they are looking for are for real.

Screen capture of search results for Central Intelligence Agency on Facebook; Facebook's blue and white Verified check mark identifies the real CIA's federal account above multiple imposter accounts.

One Thousand Accounts Verified

To kick things off, more than 1,000 federal accounts were verified by Facebook over the weekend using an API from the Federal Social Media Registry. The Registry is the official repository of more than 3,000+ social media accounts from across the federal government.

Fake accounts, misinformation and phishing scams can create barriers between citizens and public services on the Internet.

Following a fake celebrity, for instance, is not the same as following a fake emergency alert, and Facebook’s effort to address this difference underscores increasing understanding and support for the needs of public services and social media.

Verification of federal government accounts will:

  • Improve discoverability of official public services in Graph Search, News Feed, and many other Facebook products where accounts are shown.
  • Display a verified badge that gives citizens confidence that they are connecting with the real public service, and reduces incentive for impersonation.
  • Provide agencies more confidence that social media platforms can provide a safe, reliable means for sharing and engaging with citizens.

API Speeds Verification Process

Traditionally, social media platforms verify accounts on a case-by-case basis working individually with agencies, an inconsistent process that confuses the digital citizen experience.

We worked with innovators at 18F and Data.gov to improve delivery of the federal-wide registry API by creating a one-click export function that condenses the federal-wide data Facebook needed into a shared service custom fit for their verification process.

The SocialGov Community, including almost 700 digital engagement and social media managers from across the federal government, is dedicated to finding new and better ways to use social media to measurably improve public services and make them more cost effective.

We look forward to continuing working with Facebook on improving the citizen user experience for all public services. Other social media platforms can also use the API for their accounts to help ensure quality and trust in digital government.