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Twitter changes verification policy, starts removing blue checkmarks from white supremacist accounts

(Photo: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

Twitter’s made another change, one that’s likely to go over at least as well as the expanded character count—which is to say, it will throw some people into a rage, while others will feel slightly more comfortable expressing themselves on the platform.

After receiving complaints from users over the verification of white supremacist and Charlottesville organizer Jason Kessler, Twitter posted a statement about the purpose of the little blue checkmark. The social media company insisted that badge isn’t an endorsement but rather a confirmation that the account in question—which has to be one of “public interest” in order to pass muster—is authentic. Which is presumably why the company thought it was a good idea to confirm the identities of far-righters like Kessler and Richard Spencer. Many users tweeted directly at Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to question the decision to (inadvertently) legitimize the platforms of racists.


In response to the concerns, Twitter suspended its blue-badge process, but now CNBC reports the platform has revoked verification on the accounts of Kessler, Spencer, as well as some far-right accounts abroad. Twitter also posted a revised verification policy, which now notes that users can lose their checkmarks if they promote “hate and/or violence against, or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease, as well as “[support] organizations or individuals that promote the above.” And the organizers of a white supremacist rally that left one activist dead fit that bill. They’ve already tweeted about the revocation, which they naturally see as censorship.

In other good Twitter news, the social media company banned professional internet racist Tim Gionet, otherwise known as “Baked Alaska.”

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