It didn’t take long for Twitter to seemingly notice the backlash over its decision to verify the Twitter account of Jason Kessler, who organized the white nationalist “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
You can submit a request for verification to Twitter, which says the blue checkmark “lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.” That’s so famous people, like politicians and high-profile actors, don’t have to worry about others impersonating them online.
But, as Twitter, notes, “a verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter.”
Still, there was strong uproar over Kessler’s verification, with many wondering why Twitter decided to give the white nationalist the blue badge — especially after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted last month that the social media site would “take a more aggressive stance” in enforcing rules against “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.”
In what appeared to be a response to that overflowing of anger, Twitter said it “paused all general verifications.”
Dorsey retweeted the message from @TwitterSupport, providing a bit more information about the decision.
But many — including Yuh-Line Niou, a New York State Assembly member — are wondering why they still aren’t verified while white nationalists like Kessler and Richard Spencer are.
Others suggested that @TwitterSupport was being misleading when it said that verification is wrongly “interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” as the social media site lays out in multiple places that the blue checkmark signifies someone is “of public interest.”
Milo Yiannopoulos, former contributor for the right-wing site Breitbart, was also verified and then “un-verified” by Twitter, according to Vanity Fair, before he was permanently banned from the site. James Allsup, a conservative YouTube commentator who attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, is also verified on Twitter.