Sci-tech

Twitter temporarily stops verifying accounts after criticism

Twitter temporarily stops verifying accounts after criticism

The social-media company drew criticism for the process this week after it conferred a blue check mark on the account of Jason Kessler, who is credited with orchestrating the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.

"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement", Twitter's user support division wrote in a tweet on Thursday. How exactly Twitter plans to clear up the confusion it created around verification remains to be seen.

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. His bio says he is a freelance journalist for publications like the Daily Caller, he uses a picture of himself on his account and, after planning the "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville that brought clashes between white supremacists and protesters, Kessler is arguably of "public interest". 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.

Jack Dorsey vowed that his company would take a more aggressive stance on things like "hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence".

Twitter users began protesting Kessler's verification shortly after it became public. "I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction". Twitter removed the blue check-mark from white-nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos before banning him from the platform a year ago.

As a result, Twitter have now suspended general verifications while they work out if and how the system needs adjusting.

Any user can apply for verification and Twitter has at times removed a user's verified status.

Leslie Miley, a former Twitter employee who is African American, also tweeted his disgust over Kessler's verification. "Communists have killed 94 million".

It's not clear what changes the company is planning or when those changes will go into effect, though Dorsey promised to "fix faster".

They still have yet to explain why Donald Trump is permitted to issue death threats over the platform or why Matt McGorry blocked me.