Twitter Revamps Verification, Unverifies Prominent White Nationalists

Twitter Revamps Verification, Unverifies Prominent White Nationalists

And so a hypothetical verified user who tweeted nothing but pictures of kittens but organized Nazi rallies for a living could now retain his tweeting privileges, but lose his verification badge.

Twitter has updated its verification policy to allow for the removal of verification from accounts that promote hate speech or violence, or that harass others.

The decision comes amid the social giant's continued efforts to devise a new authentication and verification program, along with less ambiguous user guidelines.

Jason Kessler was the main organizer of August's Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to widespread violence and the deaths of counter-protestor Heather Heyer and two state troopers who were killed in a helicopter crash while assisting with security.

Following the change, Kessler posted on Twitter that the company had sent him a message, alerting him that his verified badge would be permanently removed.

It has become increasingly problematic as Twitter has changed to give more prominence to verified accounts in timelines and searches.

Let's not forget that when Twitter introduced the verification application system in July 2016, their vice president of User Services, Tina Bhatnagar said in a press statement, "We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification".

Twitter Revamps Verification, Unverifies Prominent White Nationalists

Other users who also lost their verified status included Laura Loomer, a self-described "new right" activist, and Tommy Robinson, the founder of the British far-right organization English Defence League.

The Twitter verification has been a source of criticism and confusion. For example, the Twitter account belonging to Harvey Weinstein is still verified, as is the account of Kevin Spacey.

Other reasons also include violence or unsafe behavior. "We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have", Twitter said on its official @TwitterSupport account.

Denoted by a blue checkmark on an account, being verified by Twitter meant the person was "authentic" and bestowed additional settings.

On its website, the platform added language claiming that it reserves the right going forward to revoke the "verified" designation at any time from users who are "promoting hate or violence, attacking or threatening people based on their race, sexual orientation, gender and religious affiliation, and engaging in harassment".

But others suggested the move puts Twitter in a "tricky place" and that it could be seen as an endorsement of some views over others.

Spencer and Kessler didn't immediately respond to requests for comment, but Spencer but responded to the action in a tweet that said, "Verified no more!"

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