m3n4.net November 17, 2018

Twitter yanks verification badges from white supremacists

17 November 2017, 12:29 | Tara Lloyd

Image Richard Spencer is among those who lost the verified status

White nationalist Richard Spencer

On Wednesday Twitter went further, actively stripping a number of users of their blue tick status, saying it would remove verification from accounts that do not meet new guidelines.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Twitter issues a blue checkmark on certain accounts which indicate that the owner of the account has been "verified" as being the person they claim to be. Those include sending tweets that promote hate or violence against people based on their race, sexual orientation, and religion, among other criteria. Now Twitter says an account may become unverified if it's found to be "promoting hate and/or violence", "inciting or engaging in harassment", threatening violence, or promoting hate groups.

Loomer likened Twitter's actions to "Hitler," drawing a comparison between the company's de-verification of her account with the Holocaust.

The tweets, from a support account, continued: "We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritise the work as we should have". In the meantime, we are not accepting any public submissions for verification and have introduced new guidelines for the programme."Within a week of its decision Stalling the verification process now twitter is working on revamp of the entire verification system".

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Also losing verification were white nationalist Richard Spencer and far-right figures Laura Loomer and James Allsup.

"Some accounts never should have been verified in the first place. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception", Twitter noted, finally acknowledging what users have long known.

Far-right Twitter users are expressing their upset across the service after having their blue ticks removed.

Twitter came up with the verification process in 2009, and soon it was seen as the status symbol to have that blue tick mark on the account.

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

The majority of figures impacted are aligned with the alt-right; others have links to Neo-Nazism.

Removing verification is a simple move on Twitter's part, but the response shows just how significant it is.

In a phone interview, Spencer said he was anxious the move would lead to people like him being banned from Twitter.

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New rules announced by Twitter reaffirmed the company's right to "remove verification at any time without notice".

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