Twitter announced last week that it was suspending its verification program after backlash over the verification badge being given to white supremicists and other controversial figures. Today, in a series of tweets from its Support account, Twitter clarified its move and said it is in the process of reviewing all verfied accounts, and may revoke veification where it deems necessary…
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Twitter explains that verification has long been viewed as an endorsement, which isn’t the case. The blue check mark that verifed accounts receive has only increased that perception, it says.
Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.
The company goes on to say that the decision to open verificaiton to the public only made the situation worse, offering the verfication badge to users it “in no way endorse.”
This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.\
In an effort to clean up and restore value to the verification program, Twitter says that it is in the process of reviewing verified accounts and will remove that verification from accounts that don’t fall within its new guidelines:
We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of.
On a new support page, Twitter outlines what it sees as ground for removing an account’s verified status:
- Intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing one’s display name or bio.
- Promoting 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. Supporting organizations or individuals that promote the above.
- Inciting or engaging in harassment of others.
- Violence and dangerous behavior
- Directly or indirectly threatening or encouraging any form of physical violence against an individual or any group of people, including threatening or promoting terrorism
- Violent, gruesome, shocking, or disturbing imagery
- Self-harm, suicide
- Engaging in activity on Twitter that violates the Twitter Rules.
Thus far, several prominent Twitter users have had their verification revoked, including Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Charlottesville white nationalist rally, and Laura Loomer, a far-right investigative journalist.
As it reviews existing verified accounts, Twitter says it is working on a new authentication and verification program:
We’re working on a new authentication and verification program. In the meantime, we are not accepting any public submissions for verification.
Details of that new program are sparse at this point. View Twitter’s full announcement on today’s verification efforts on the Twitter Support page.