Twitter suspends verifications amid White Nationalism controversy

Twitter verification has always been a sign that Twitter thought you really were someone worth paying attention to. People all over Twitter clambered to get that little blue tick next to their name.

Twitter suspends verifications amid White Nationalism controversy

Over the years, however, what that little blue tick was perceived to mean versus what it actually meant has diverged. People see it as Twitter’s endorsement of an individual and their views. In the age of Trump, white supremacists and a time where celebrities are falling left, right and centre to claims of sexual misconduct, that’s a very bad perception for Twitter verification to have.

Therefore, when Twitter went ahead and verified the account of Jason Kessler, the internet flipped out. Kessler is the man instrumental in organising the alt-right Unite the Right protest and so, a verification from Twitter appeared to look like an endorsement of his ideas.

Twitter’s reaction to the controversy wasn’t to strip Kessler, but to go away and reassess what it means to be verified. Until that decision has been made, all new verifications have been put on hold.

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Twitter’s statement on the matter suggests it’s simply a “pause” in the verification system while they reassess, but is more than likely Twitter will scrap verifications altogether. Not only do they not serve the purpose they were originally intended for, but there are so many verified users on Twitter now that it isn’t even a sign that someone is a trustworthy voice.

It’s unclear if Twitter will strip verification from existing verified users once is decided on what comes after but, hopefully, this is a step towards a better version of the 280-character social network.

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