Twitter to remove blue tick for specified accounts

Michele Moreno
November 17, 2017

In a series of follow-up tweets, Twitter said the problems around verification were worsened when it allowed the public to submit requests for certain accounts to be verified.

The new scheme will remove verification from anyone who "promotes hate" on grounds including "race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease".

Others who said they lost their verified status included the white nationalist Richard Spencer, far-right activists Laura Loomer and James Allsup, and Tommy Robinson, the host of a show on the fringe conservative site the Rebel TV.

And the company added that it should have addressed the issue earlier.

Twitter's move marks yet another step in a debate over increased leverage that extremist figures have maintained over recent years by speaking out both in public and online.

Further, they stated that no public submissions for verification would be accepted, as new guidelines were released for the verification programme. Kessler was the organiser of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Clarifying what their blue tick verification means, the company also tweeted, "verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance". While the network has notably verified the accounts of self-proclaimed white supremacists and Nazis, it appears to be reversing that policy.

The company announced new guidelines for the verification program, and will remove verification from accounts that fall outside those rules. There are a lot of high traffic users who employ that tool just to cut down on the spam, so you're probably more likely to be "seen" by them if you have one. The second rule on their list is likely why white nationalists are now un-verified: hate speech now breaks verification rules.

Jack Dorsey, the company's chief executive, said last week that it realized it needed to overhaul the verification process "some time ago". Spencer asked, subsequently tweeting that anyone on the right who retained their verified status was "system approved" and "utterly irrelevant".

Twitter said, 'Verification has always been perceived as an endorsement.

It has become increasingly problematic as Twitter has changed to give more prominence to verified accounts in timelines and searches.

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