Twitter Revamps Verification, Unverifies Prominent White Nationalists

by Alex Kantrowitz on November 16, 2017

Twitter removed verification badges from a handful of prominent, largely far-right accounts on its service Wednesday afternoon.

The accounts — belonging to Unite The Right organizer Jason Kessler, white nationalist Richard Spencer, among others — lost their verified status under a new Twitter policy which makes verification contingent on an adherence to Twitter's rules.

Twitter updated its verification guidelines Wednesday to mandate its rules be followed. It also added several new guidelines verified accounts must follow in order to keep their blue checkmarks, including prohibitions against the promotion of hate and violence, engagement in or incitement of harassment, and sharing of shocking or disturbing imagery. Verification, it said, may be removed for behavior running afoul of these rules “on and off Twitter.”

“We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of,” Twitter said in a tweet from its support account.

Within minutes of the tweet, Twitter removed verification badges from Spencer, Kessler, Laura Loomer, James Allsup and more. Twitter declined to specify how many accounts in unverified in response to an inquiry from BuzzFeed News.

The move immediately raised questions about whether Twitter is turning verification into an endorsement after years of claiming it's simply a confirmation of someone's identity. Every verification revocation will evoke loads of scrutiny at the very least. “Instead of making verification about identity, now begins an endless, unresolvable series of editorial decisions that they'll be forced to defend,” former Twitter executive Menotti Minutillo tweeted in response to the move.

Twitter has removed a verification badge following behavior it didn't like in the past. In January 2016, it removed provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos's badge due to rules violations following a harassment campaign, before eventually kicking him off the service. Now it appears to be using the punishment more aggressively and codifying it into its help center.

Originally Posted By BuzzFeed - Tech

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: