Twitter stops verifying users after Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' organizer is verified

Randolph Lopez
November 10, 2017

Elected officials, journalists and other public figures on Twitter often feature a blue check mark next to their name, which affirms that they are who they say they are.

Twitter temporarily stops its verification process. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

Verified Twitter accounts have never been officially endorsed or given special promotions but criticism from many Twitter users shows that popular opinion can sometimes outweigh the truth.

If being verified is not meant to enhance a user's legitimacy and help expand their audience, it seems unusual that verification is not given to all well-known people regardless of how controversial they may be. Chief executive Jack Dorsey said Twitter should have communicated its doubts about the verification system to users faster, and the network had realized it needed to overhaul its verification process "some time ago". "And we failed by not doing anything about it".

Verification is designed as a means simply to confirm the identity of the account owner.

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"We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it".

Originally, verification was applied entirely manually by the Twitter team, with verified status simply appearing without warning for those accounts that might qualify. Twitter has also verified prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer.

The issue was a larger part of Twitter's issues with dealing with abuse, but the platform received more scrutiny after a white supremacist killed counter-protestor Heather Hayer with his vehicle during a right-wing rally in Charlottesville in August. The badge lets users know you are indeed looking at the real Kim Kardashian's account, for example, rather than the 50,000 bootleg versions.

- 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?

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

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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