The changing world of verified Twitter accounts

Frederick Owens
November 17, 2017

Twitter announced that it had "paused" its verification process last week before making the move on the right-wing accounts last night.

In the end, verification on Twitter was obviously meant to let users searching for the account of a particular person (particularly those who are more famous in one field or another) know if they've found the actual individual or some parody account or perhaps just someone with a similar name. The mark was meant merely to confirm authenticity, but has since been seen as an endorsement and a badge of honour. "'We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception". Ms. Loomer, meanwhile, a self-described investigative journalist who was recently banned by ride share companies Uber and Lyft after tweeting several anti-Muslim posts, evoked the Holocaust in response to losing her verified status.

Twitter stated, "We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines".

Twitter's verification badge is a white check mark inside a blue icon next to someone's name indicating the company has verified the person's identity and that the account belongs to them.

Several accounts, including that of founder of United Kingdom far right group the English Defence League Tommy Robinson and U.S. white nationalist Richard Spencer, have had their blue ticks revoked.

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"Verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly white?"

Some users who had verified badges taken off said the updated policy was not being applied consistently and highlighted accounts for disgraced celebrities who did not lose their badge. Tim Gionet, an alt-right movement pioneer, was temporarily suspended from Twitter. Spencer was involved in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in October that led to violent clashes and the death of one woman.

Twitter reserves the right to remove verification at any time without notice.

Robinson, the ex-EDL leader and outspoken critic of Islam, told HuffPost UK the move was a "blatant attack on free speech".

In a phone interview, Spencer said he was anxious the move would lead to people like him being banned from Twitter. Although his verification has been removed, it's safe to say this new plan will better the content that's tweeted out daily. He told his more than 14,000 followers at the time that "I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction".

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