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This Is Why Twitter Has Temporarily Suspended Its Verification Process

It is interesting to note that Twitter had earlier withheld blue check mark for whistleblower Julian Assange.

Bodhisattva Sen Roy | News18@insenroy

Updated:November 14, 2017, 6:30 PM IST
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This Is Why Twitter Has Temporarily Suspended Its Verification Process
Jason Kessler holding up a Confederate Flag (Image: Southern Poverty Law Center)
It sure looks like Twitter just cannot keep itself out of controversy. Last week, Twitter had to apologise for blocking the word “bisexual” from search results. According to Twitter, the word was incorrectly included in an “out of date” list of terms that appear alongside adult content.

This week, Twitter drew severe social media backlash after verifying the account of Jason Kessler, one of the organisers of the 'Unite the Right' white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, USA last August. The rally caused ripples as it turned violent, with a car ramming into a number of people who were protesting peacefully against the demonstration. Two police officers were later killed while on duty monitoring the violence in the city after their helicopter crashed.

Kessler, in fact, took to Twitter to inform his 13,000 + followers that he had been verified. It is striking to note that the cover image of his profile is the Confederate flag, widely considered to be a symbol of slavery, hatred and white supremacy.




It is interesting to note that Twitter had earlier withheld blue check mark for whistleblower Julian Assange.

In a tweet from @TwitterSupport account, the platform said"Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognise 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".



“Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted on Thursday morning. “And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster.”




Over the years, verification from Twitter, in the form of the ubiquitous blue tick has emerged as a status symbol of sorts for the platform's users. This is mainly driven by the fact that only a very small percentage of Twitter users are actually verified. While the 'official' purpose of the verification process is to let 'people know that an account of public interest is authentic', it has evolved to mean that Twitter valued someone as 'important'.

In light of this notion, when Twitter verified Jason Kessler, it might have appeared to some as Twitter legitimising a white supremacist.
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