Published: Sun, November 19, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

Twitter Removing Verification Badge From Some Accounts

Twitter Removing Verification Badge From Some Accounts

Twitter said it will remove the verification badges from accounts whose behavior does not fit their guidelines. "We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception", the company tweeted Wednesday. "We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have", Twitter said on its official @TwitterSupport account. Twitter said in a tweet that it's working on a new authentication and verification program and still not accepting any new requests. It also rolled out new guidelines around what behavior will result in the revocation of a verified status.

Twitter reserves the right to de-verify users at any time without notice for reasons, including intentionally misleading users, inciting or engaging in harassing, violent or risky behavior and "directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease", according to the guidelines released Wednesday.

Among the people to lose the symbol under new guidelines were white supremacist leader Jason Kessler, white nationalist figure Richard Spencer, Tommy Robinson of the far-right English Defence League and conservative activist Laura Loomer, who was recently banned from Uber and Left for tweets disparaging Muslims. Kessler is best known as an organizer of the Unite The Right white-supremacist rally, but before then, he had racked up a significant record of online hate propagation, particularly with anti-Semitic rhetoric about "cultural Marxism". But many had objected to his verification because he had described Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed at the August rally, as a "fat, disgusting Communist", whose death was "payback time", the Washington Post reported. He questioned Twitter's move to remove his verification. "This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse".

Twitter's "verification" system is used to confirm accounts of celebrities and other accounts of "public interest".

Another far-right figure, Jason Kessler, also had his blue badge revoked.

Kessler tweeted that, "Twitter has changed their verification policy just to be able to censor me". The blue tick, which was initially meant to defend against identity theft for the likes of celebrities and journalists, has appeared to confer an "elite" status to accounts that display it, leading to questions as to why members of the far right were eligible.

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