White Nationalists Freak Out After Losing Their Verified Twitter Status

Posted November 17, 2017

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite The Right rally in Virginia this summer, was verified last week, prompting an outcry that led the company to rethink its qualifications for verification. For now, Twitter has stopped receiving new applications for verification.

Last week, Twitter had tweeted that the verification exercise, originally meant to authenticate identity and voice, was being seen as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.

"A verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter", according to the company, but "lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic".

Twitter's changes to its verification process, including the move to take away the little blue check that provided white nationalists like Richard Spencer higher prominence in search results, come as the company faces pressure for failing to crack down on hate speech on its platform.

Twitter updated its policies Wednesday to allow the company to remove "verified" status for accounts that engage in "hate".

More news: 5000 barrels of oil leaked from Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota

Laura Loomer, already banned from Uber and Lyft for her anti-Muslim rants against the drivers, announced that her Twitter account had lost the verified status.

Twitter previously made a statement around the issue, saying: "Verification has always been perceived as an endorsement".

Responding to losing the verified status, Mr Spencer wrote: "Verified no more!"

Mr. Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute think tank and a participant in the August rally, said it was "time for Washington to regulate Silicon Valley" after he lost his verified badge Wednesday.

The new guidelines for verified users say "Twitter reserves the right to remove verification at any time without notice" and that verification could be revoked for "behaviours on and off Twitter".

More news: Russia vetoes UN resolution on chemical weapons probe in Syria

Twitter has changed its verified profiles policy, saying it will strip the blue checkmark from accounts that don't follow the new guidelines.

Removing verification is a simple move on Twitter's part, but the response shows just how significant it is. And by choosing to strictly go after people from one ideological camp (no matter how hateful some of the speech in question may be), the company has reinforced the idea that they would prefer to be a liberal echo chamber.

Inciting or engaging in harassment of others. Supporting organisations or individuals that promote the above.

Milo Yiannapoulos, a former editor at the right-wing site Breitbart, has his blue tick removed and was eventually suspended previous year over targeted harassment.

More news: Five Dead In California Shooting Spree That Ended At School