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(Pocket-lint) - Searching for specific people - namely celebrities - on Snapchat has never been easy, because it's hard to tell which account is real, but with a new update to the app, things just got a little less confusing.

Similar to Twitter's verified feature, Snapchat has begun verifying select users by designating their "official stories". Snapchat is a 4-year-old messaging app for sharing moments. It lets you capture photos or videos. From there, you can add a caption or doodle or lens, and then send it to a friend. You can also add it to a "story" in order to publically broadcast it to your followers for 24 hours.

Check out this piece for information about how Snapchat works. But if you want to know more about how official stories work, including how it's similar to Twitter's verified feature and whether it'll make it easier for you to search for and find the right people on Snapchat, keep reading.

Snapchat: How do you search for people?

  • Open Snapchat
  • While on the main camera screen, swipe down
  • From there, tap the 'add friends' option
  • You can add friends from your addressbook or by username
  • To find a specific person, you'll want to tap 'add by username'
  • Enter the person's username
  • If the username exists, a '+' sign will appear next to it
  • Tap the '+' sign to add the person as a friend

Snapchat: Why is it difficult to find celebrities?

Although it's relatively simple to add a person on Snapchat, you must know the person's username beforehand in order for you to search for and add him or her. Otherwise you could end up adding a stranger or the wrong person. The same can be said when it comes to adding celebrities.

For instance: Try searching for "justinbieber". You'll see that username appear with a "+" next to it. You can go ahead and add it, if you want, but first you should know his actual username is "rickthesizzler". Yeah. The username "justinbieber" apparently belongs to someone else.

Because Snapchat never verified accounts, you couldn't easily find real celebrity accounts without knowing their usernames in the first place.

Snapchat: What are stories?

Stories are snaps strung together to create a narrative that lasts for 24 hours.

To broadcast or share a story, start by capturing a photo or video from the camera screen, then tap the arrow button in the bottom corner, and add it to 'My Story'. Depending on your privacy settings, stories can be viewed by either all snapchatters, just your friends, or a customised group.

To view your followers' stories, swipe from right on the main camera screen. You will then see the stories screen, along with a list of currently-available stories from your followers. Simply tap on any follower to view their story. 

Snapchat: What are official stories?

snapchat finally verifies accounts here’s how to find official stories  image 2

On Twitter, Twitter profiles are earmarked by a blue verified badge if they are verified. Verification is used to establish authenticity of identities of key individuals and brands on Twitter. Twitter verifies accounts on an ongoing basis and does not accept requests for verification from the public.

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Taking a page from Twitter's playbook, Snapchat has announced a verified-like feature called 'Official Stories'. This will help you easily discover and identify authentic accounts as well as their interesting stories. Unfortunately, you still need to know a celebrity's username beforehand, but if you're searching blind, at least now you'll know if an account is real.

For instance, when you now search for a celebrity in Snapchat, an emoji will appear next to their name, indicating they are real. Their stories will also appear under an 'Official Stories' header. Snapchat said official stories are being rolled out to a small group of snapchatters and may become widely available over time. And, yes, Justin Bieber is among the elite verified. 

Want to know more?

Check out Snapchat's Help Center for more details. You can also check out this piece for Snapchat tricks and tips you probably had no clue about.

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 14 November 2015.