Twitter suspends verifying accounts after White Nationalist gets badge
The popular social media platform announced Thursday that it would suspend verifying accounts after it received heavy criticism for providing Jason Kessler, an organizer of the far-right Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
It might take a bit longer to get that blue check mark on Twitter.
The popular social media platform announced Thursday that it would suspend verifying accounts after it received heavy criticism for providing Jason Kessler, an organizer of the far-right Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a verification badge on Wednesday.
Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance," Twitter support said. "We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon."
Twitter adds a blue check mark to accounts that it has verified are genuine.
After Kessler received the badge next to his name — and below an image of the Confederate flag on his account — the white nationalist celebrated the perceived endorsement.
"Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter," Kessler tweeted to his more than 13,000 followers. "I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction."
Kessler is remembered for helping organize the white nationalist protest in Charlottesville in August, which led to a woman's death. He was chased by an angry crowd when he tried to hold a news conference the day after the demonstration.
Shortly thereafter, Kessler tweeted a series of attacks against Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed at the rally.
Twitter removed his verification badge on Thursday.
Several celebrities on Twitter were quick to condemn Twitter's decision to give Kessler the badge.
Hey @jack: very active user, 2.1M followers here: this is disgusting. Verifying white supremacists reinforces the increasing belief that your site is a platform for hate speech. I don't want to give up Twitter, but I may have to. Who do you value more, users like me or him? https://t.co/5ymcNfFvH0— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) November 9, 2017
Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who received the brunt of the criticism on Saturday, said a change was long necessary.
"Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered," he tweeted, saying he should have addressed the issue sooner. "And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster."