White nationalist loses 'verified' status on Twitter

17 November, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Twitter explains how users can lose their verified status

Twitter's verification badge is a white check mark inside a blue icon next to someone's name indicating the company has verified the person's identity and that the account belongs to them.

The company also said Twitter is a platform used by Government agencies, celebrities, and other public figures to connect with people and their respective, followers and this Twitter's blue badge for symbolizes authenticity and status of verified.

These include a ban on promoting hate or threatening people on the basis of "race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease".

Twitter on Wednesday removed the "verification" checkmarks from the accounts of a number of white nationalists and far-right activists - in a move that critics say could have a chilling effect on free speech. "We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have".

Firing the first salvo, Twitter removed the verification status of far-right white supremacists, Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer.


Alt right USA commentator Laura Loomer and the white supremacist account @apurposefulwife were also among those unverified, while the alt right vlogger Baked Alaska had his account suspended outright. Journalist Soledad O'Brien responded to Spencer's complaints about being unverified, tweeting he should "just stop being a white supremacist and a disgusting human being".

Blue badges are seen nowadays as a form of endorsement, as Twitter explains. Most recently, some eagle-eyed Facebook users discovered that the alt-right social network Gab was advertising on the site.

But, as the Guardian points out, "the fact that Twitter can remove the checkmark based on an account's behavior or content will probably reinforce the perception that it does imply an endorsement". And it comes as the publicly traded company faces increased pressure to weed out the hateful speech, images and threats that have blossomed on the service in recent years.

Spencer wasn't the only one who felt the impact of Twitter's rule change.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites are under increasing scrutiny over the spread of far-right views and fake news on their platforms during the 2016 election. The verification process and regulations around it have been scrutinised since the feature's inception in 2009, and Twitter has stopped public submissions for the verification programme as it irons out the new rules.

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