Verification is implied to signify a user’s authenticity, while, in fact, it marks a user’s performance deemed profitable for the system that awards verification.

On social media platforms, the standardised form of verification is a blue verification mark. The verification process that social networks propose with blue ticks does not clarify authenticity, minimising the errors and ambiguities. Verified accounts are opposed to accounts without a blue mark, not because unverified accounts are fake. Instead, blue ticks are aimed to distinguish certain users based on high engagement rates they supply to the social media platforms, quantified as ‘prominent’ numbers of followers, likes and comments.

Approaching the definition of verification, one might be tempted to start with the notions of authenticity or truth. This approach is misleading. Verification is not oriented inside, towards the nature of something or someone verified, but towards its projected future. Verification originates in the actuarial logic meant to be inductive - to generalise your future behaviour based on a set of parameters.

Verification does not deal with the truth in the sense of a control group and known characteristics of its behaviour. There is no control group against which you can measure the prediction result, referred to as “ground truth”. Actuarial logic, indeed, was defined by the lack of ground truth. The act of prediction actively influences the measured population, making it impossible to create conditions to learn what would happen without such prediction. Translating actuarial logic to today’s extremes: we would never know if a person would commit a crime if a drone would not have already killed them based on their metadata.