Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Twitter has stopped verifying accounts - after it approved a white nationalist

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Jeanne Townsend | 10 November, 2017, 00:54

The move comes days after Jason Kessler - a white nationalist who organized the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia -bragged about getting a blue check mark on his profile.

"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance", Twitter said in a statement.

Twitter removed his verification badge on Thursday.

If you have been waiting for a blue tick from Twitter, sorry. Verifying white supremacists reinforces the increasing belief that your site is a platform for hate speech.

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.

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"Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter", Kessler tweeted to his more than 13,000 followers. "We have created this confusion".

Before this halt, public interest accounts which includes those of users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas qualified to get verified. 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. As a result, verification was naturally a much more exclusive club, typically requiring a much larger presence than might be necessary to qualify now, perhaps contributing to the perception that verified accounts must have been deemed "important" by Twitter. 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".

Top Twitter officials weighed in on the Kessler decision Thursday from their personal accounts.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also weighed in, saying that the management team should have communicated more quickly on its plans to fix the system.

"We should have stopped the current process at the beginning of the year", Ho said.

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