March 20, 2018

Twitter Suspends Verifying Accounts After White Nationalist Gets Badge

10 November 2017, 12:55 | Camille Rivera

Twitter verification is temporarily

Twitter verification is temporarily on hold

Jason Kessler, one of the main organizers of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August that left one woman dead, announced earlier this week that Twitter had verified his account, sparking an angry response and debate about Twitter's responsibility for monitoring and classifying its users. That's so famous people, like politicians and high-profile actors, don't have to worry about others impersonating them online.

Who would have thought a blue check mark on Twitter could cause such an uproar. "Twitter is directly enabling white supremacy and white nationalist ideology".

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.

The news follows backlash after Twitter assigned the blue and white check mark to white supremacist Jason Kessler.

It added, "We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it".

"Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter", Kessler wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. But those protesting Kessler's verification note that Twitter offers special features and even abuse filters to verified users - a design choice that implies such users are privileged in some way from non verified users.

Twitter says it verifies accounts of "public interests", which typically includes journalists, public figures and celebrities. "Who do you value more, users like me or him?" He had called her "fat" and a "disgusting communist", and said that her death was "payback time".

Kessler did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Twitter's latest decision.

CEO Jack Dorsey recently renewed his pledge to wipe out violent groups, hate symbols and speech and tweets that glorify violence. Critics attacked the company for a move they said gave credibility and significance to white nationalism.

"Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered", he tweeted, saying he should have addressed the issue sooner.

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