One idea I had was for a three-level verification system.
Example: Bobby and I spent December 2011 washing dishes in a bar in Cambodia.
As soon as I mention someone I am prompted to ask them for verification, even if they are not registered to the platform yet. After tagging a name I will get the opportunity to send them a link to verify my story, either via WhatsApp or email. Alternatively, if they are on the platform they will be able to verify the story on the platform and also add it to their page.
This means stories will fall under three categories:
1 - unverified, which could make the story less believable unless you are able to verify it by photos or videos or even newspaper articles or something.
2 - verified via link, this would add a degree of authority to your story, as it would mean that someone has confirmed that your story is true.
3 - verified via platform, this would be the most effective way verify the story, as it would be connected to the profile of the person you mention in the story.
I like this idea as it will encourage many people to send out links trying to verify the story, which means that more people are exposed to the platform.
As for using this to help a user's community, people would be able to follow one another without authorization, so you can follow anyone you find interesting, but you would only be added to one another's list of friends when you have a communal story.