Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Twitter Put a Pause on Handing Out Verifications

Twitter Has a White-Nationalist Verification Problem Jason Kessler, leader of Charlottesville white supremacist rally, is verified on Twitter
Derrick Tucker | 12 November, 2017, 02:02

That's because Mr. Kessler is a well-known white supremacist who has used Twitter to spread his message and organize rallies like Unite the Right's march in Charlottesville, Va., where torch wielding protesters marched through the streets chanting racist rallying cries.

Twitter said its verification process is meant to "authenticate identify and voice" but is today interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance, and it is pausing all general verifications while the company tries to resolve the matter.

Twitter users looking to get verified typically have to submit an online form that requests an email address, phone number and website link to a biography that specifies "an area of expertise and/or a company mission". Twitter has previously come under fire for verifying other prominent white supremacists, including Richard Spencer.

"We realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered", said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

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- Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) November 9, 2017 How do you verify Jason Kessler, thus giving him a place of distinction, and, at the same time, tell people of color that they are safe on Twitter? (I'm not verified, but I recently applied to be.) When accounts are verified, they float to the top of the platform's search results for "top tweets".

Twitter's decision to verify people who coordinate racist campaigns, like Kessler, is a political one.

'And we failed by not doing anything about it. It has also increased the characters for the Twitter display name.

What all this information gets at is, as Twitter sees it, the point of verification: To prove that an account is authentic. "Working now to fix faster". And among users, the blue checkmark has become a sort of status symbol that implies legitimacy-many are more likely to trust a verified account simply due to its verified status.

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