Twitter pauses verifications after verifying Charlottesville organizer

Twitter Has a White-Nationalist Verification Problem

The social media company was criticised after Jason Kessler, who organised the Unite the Right rally which sparked violence in the U.S. town of Charlottesville in August, tweeted on Wednesday to confirm he had been verified by the platform.

"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance", the support handle tweeted.

On Tuesday afternoon, Twitter added a small blue check mark to the account of Jason Kessler, a move known as verification that indicates a prominent person's real account. Twitter has previously come under fire for verifying other prominent white supremacists, including Richard Spencer.

The decision sparked fury from many who said that, by verifying Kessler, the platform was legitimizing his views and giving him a platform.

Kevin Spacey accused in incident involving former Boston TV anchor relative
As the allegations against Spacey continued to surface, Unruh has shown her support for Rapp and the other victims on Twitter. Rapp said then-26-year-old Spacey was holding him down tightly, but he was able to get away and left the apartment.

Given the furore over Kessler's blue tick, it's worth asking how a white supremacist can end up getting verified in the first place.

Unfortunately for those of you awaiting your verification, Twitter seems to have listened to user criticism, at least this time.

More recently, an applications process was opened up by which accounts could state why they might justify verification, expanding massively the range of people who could potentially be verified. Still, they said they're going to work on it. Any Twitter user can apply for verification, but at times the company has appeared to wield the coveted status as a weapon.

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey responded to the tidal wave of complaints a few days later, saying the verification policy was correctly followed in this circumstance but that it's a system that's long required an upgrade. As a result, verification was naturally a much more exclusive club, typically requiring a much larger presence than might be necessary to qualify now, perhaps contributing to the perception that verified accounts must have been deemed "important" by Twitter. Twitter seems to be sitting up and taking notice.

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