Twitter Suspends Verifying Accounts After White Nationalist Gets Badge


Twitter has suspended its verification process after Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white supremacist deadly rally in Charlottesville, received a blue checkmark. While the literal meaning of a check mark was about verifying identity, having a check mark has also evolved into a pseudo endorsement from the company - a confirmation that Twitter valued someone as important. Verifications have been "paused" until the company can resolve the "confusion".

The social media company was criticised after Jason Kessler, who organised the Unite the Right rally which sparked violence in the United States town of Charlottesville in August, tweeted on Wednesday to confirm he had been verified by the platform.

In the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally, which left a counter-protester dead, Kessler used his Twitter account to call the woman, Heather Heyer, "a fat, disgusting Communist".

The post drew furious replies and sparked blowback on the social media site, with users blasting the company for verifying the account, which many saw as an endorsement or a signal to users that Kessler was a noteworthy figure.

Usually, Twitter verified accounts of prominent people, including musicians, journalists and company executives by adding a blue icon on their profile after proving their identity. Anyone can apply to receive a blue check mark, but Twitter is judge, jury and executioner when it comes to who receives, or loses, the blue check. "I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction". Seems like the kind of person Twitter would not want to amplify, but alas no. "Looks like it was payback time", before linking to the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dorsey retweeted the message and assured he was working to fix the problem.

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

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also tweeted regarding the verification process, he clarified that agents have "been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered".