Published: Thu, November 16, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Twitter Removes Verified Status From Users For Racist and Hateful Posts

Twitter Removes Verified Status From Users For Racist and Hateful Posts

Among the behaviors that will result in the revocation of verification are "promoting hate and/or violence", supporting hate groups, "inciting or engaging in harassment of others".

Twitter has acknowledged that the verification = endorsement perception flourished once it began accepting applications from users for the highly sought after badge. "We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines".

Twitter users are already broadcasting their loss of verification status. "The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic", reads Twitter's verified accounts support page. It has variously meant that Twitter has confirmed the identity of the person tweeting; that a user is high profile and eligible to receive extra features and priority support; and that a user has acted within the rules of the platform.

Which is why people got upset on Wednesday when Twitter verified Kessler, a move that, in the minds of many, legitimized a white supremacist.

Kessler, who organized "Unite the Right" protest in Charlottesville, criticized the policy in a tweet.

"Verification has always been perceived as an endorsement", the company wrote on Twitter.

Some who have been unverified, including journalist Laura Loomer, said the policy change doesn't have anything to do with verification, but rather she blamed censorship.

"We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception", Twitter said.

Twitter started notifying users of that their verification had been removed by email on Wednesday. "We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon".

"We should've communicated faster on this (yesterday). our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered", Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted last week. Twitter's user guidelines allow for anonymous accounts, and anonymous users have been a big part of Twitter's identity and culture since the company's founding. Twitter typically declines to comment on disciplinary decisions around individual accounts.

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