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Twitter stops verification badge amid Jason Kessler backlash

12 November, 2017, 02:05 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Jack Dorsey

Twitter has put a temporary hold on its blue tick verification process, following backlash for verifying the handle of Jason Kessler, who organised a white nationalist rally which sparked violence in Charlottesville, USA.

"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance", the company tweeted. Kessler, whose header picture on Twitter is a Confederate flag, had temporarily deleted his account in August after tweeting that Heyer "was a fat, disgusting Communist" whose death "was payback time". "We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it", said a post by Twitter Support.

"Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered". Seems like the kind of person Twitter would not want to amplify, but alas no.

Milo Yiannopoulos, former contributor for the right-wing site Breitbart, was also verified and then "un-verified" by Twitter, according to Vanity Fair, before he was permanently banned from the site.

More recently, an applications process was opened up by which accounts could state why they might justify verification, expanding massively the range of people who could potentially be verified.

Twitter has more than doubled its character allowance for display names.

What all this information gets at is, as Twitter sees it, the point of verification: To prove that an account is authentic. And among users, the blue checkmark has become a sort of status symbol that implies legitimacy-many are more likely to trust a verified account simply due to its verified status. He also says that when alt-right people call one another Nazis it's like when "black people were called the n-word for so long they just started calling each other that as a term of endearment". For critics of Twitter's ongoing failure to effectively address the harassment that occurs on its platform, the move was viewed as yet another example that the social network is not taking the appropriate actions to police its platform.

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