Question-and-answer service Quora has begun rolling out verified profiles for public figures, with President Barack Obama signing up as the first user to receive a blue checkmark. Obama has taken to Quora to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act ahead of the March 31 enrollment deadline.
On-boarding the president of the US has become something of a milestone for social services. Reddit, for instance, reached a turning point in 2012 when Obama participated in an AMA on the site. Alex Wu, Quora’s Head of Product Marketing and Partnerships, told TNW that Obama’s participation is a “great signal of [Quora’s] growth and our ability to keep quality high.”
In addition to the President, Quora will also add verified profiles for several other notable users, including Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in the coming weeks.
While Quora has already excelled at ensuring that its platform is trustworthy, the addition of a verified process should bolster confidence in answers from the likes of industry leaders, politicians and celebrities. If anything, it’s a bit of a surprise that Quora is just now adding the feature.
Verified profiles will look similar to how Facebook and Twitter have implemented them, with a simple blue checkmark next to the user’s name. Behind the scenes, Quora has assigned a team that will determine eligibility based on a number of indicators.
As Quora’s visibility attracts more public personalities, I’ve been curious whether the company ever imagines what historical figures could have shared on the site. When I asked Wu who he would have liked to see on Quora, he said definitely not Socrates, since the philosopher would have been down-voted for answer questions with a question. Wu did note that hearing from FDR on what was behind the decision for the US to join World War II would have been fascinating.
“One of the interesting things I’ve seen on Quora is when there are big decisions being made and seeing an inside scoop,” Wu said. “Quora would have been a great place for that if we’d been able to exist for that audience.”
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