Today's update to Snapchat brought more than paid lenses. As spotted by our former colleague Sam Sheffer, Snapchat is rolling out its own version of verified accounts as well. If you search for a VIP account today, you'll see their username listed under "official stories." They also get an emoji next to their name "so you know they're the real deal," the company says. This is useful in cases like that of Justin Bieber, who goes by "rickthesizzler" on Snapchat. (His given name is currently occupied by a squatter.) Other celebrities who have been granted official stories include Tiesto (tiesto) and Kylie Jenner (kylizzlemynizzl). Still totally unverified: The Verge, which you can of course find at therealverge.
Verified accounts eventually come to every social network; Twitter and Facebook have had them for years. As they are adopted by more celebrities, media organizations, and other VIPs, verified accounts become important to separate real folks from imposters. (They also can serve as a coveted status symbol for those who receive them.) Adding someone's official story on Snapchat is roughly equivalent to following them on Twitter; it allows you to see everything they have posted publicly to the network.
The company says it's taking things slow with official stories. "At this time, official stories are being rolled out to a small group of Snapchatters," it says. "Over time, official stories may become more widely available."
Update, 2:36PM: This article has been updated to include confirmation from Snapchat.