Verified Facebook Status for States, Localities: Here's How to Get Yours

Facebook verification is officially live for states, cities and counties -- now it's time to get verified.

by Luke Stowe, special to Government Technology / May 6, 2015

The coveted blue verified badge on Facebook: Celebrities get it. Sports teams get it. Even federal agencies get it. Now state and local governments can get it too.

Last Friday, Jason Shueh reported on a pending code update at the social site that would extend the badge — commonly called the blue check mark (even though the check mark is actually white against a blue background) — to states and localities.

The move is recognition of the growing prominence of government social media. The verified pages will also increase confidence and reduce confusion about which are a government's official pages – and which ones are unofficial civic-minded fan sites, or even parody pages.

Katie Harbath, Facebook's global politics and government outreach manager, has been working to find an easy way for state and local government agencies to attain the social platform's coveted verified status. 

And she has done it -- now, Facebook is opened up to allow states and localities to apply for verified status at http://bit.ly/fbgovverify. To complete the registration process, page administrators need to:

  • Be logged into Facebook
  • Select the page they wish to verify
  • Enter the address of the official agency website
  • Upload tax-exempt ID letters (in lieu of articles of incorporation)

Harbath is working on rolling out an improved form for government agencies. The new process will not require agencies to submit articles of incorporation but the needed supported documentation — which could include tax-exempt status letters or certificates — is still being finalized.

Twitter recently began offering verified status for public agencies too. To earn the badge, simply visit http://bit.ly/govverify to send a verification request. For agencies to be considered for verification on Twitter, the nonprotected account must already have started tweeting and have a complete profile, including a real name, biography, photo and organization URL.

As Facebook's Public Content Operations team acclimates to government agencies becoming eligible for verification, some government agency pages may be rejected. Harbath encourages anyone who has problems with page verification to email her team at gov@fb.com.


Luke Stowe is the digital services coordinator for the city of Evanston, Ill. Luke is a frequent speaker and trainer on many topics, including social media and civic technology. He is a special correspondent for GovTech Social and serves as a government adviser to the Government Social Media Conference & Expo.