Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Twitter stops verification badge amid Jason Kessler backlash

Twitter stops verification badge amid Jason Kessler backlash

Looking to get that little blue check mark next to your Twitter handle?

Twitter really didn't help itself when it verified the account of Jason Kessler, the man who organized that rally and later used Twitter to defame Hayer and referred to her death "payback time". Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

In an earlier article covering the topic, we noted that Twitter meant to take a look at how it verified public figures.

The post drew furious replies and sparked blowback on the social media site, with users blasting the company for verifying the account, which many saw as an endorsement or a signal to users that Kessler was a noteworthy figure. "And we failed by not doing anything about it".

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In response to Dorsey's tweet, some users criticized the tech firm for verifying Kessler in the first place.

Twitter says its system for verifying accounts is broken.

In a statement on Twitter, the company said: "We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon".

"We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it", the company announced in a tweet.

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Which is why people got upset on Wednesday when Twitter verified Kessler, a move that, in the minds of many, legitimized a white supremacist. Comedian and active user Michael Ian Black tweeted that "verifying white supremacists reinforces the increasing belief that your site is a platform for hate speech".

Although verified users are not meant to be given promotion or extra attention from Twitter, public opinion clearly does not see it that way.

Several celebrities on Twitter were quick to condemn Twitter's decision to give Kessler the badge.

Dorsey retweeted the message from @TwitterSupport, providing a bit more information about the decision. The guidelines mentioned above specify that accounts which might be imitated are preemptively verified, but not that documented accounts of imitation are necessary, which muddies the waters further.

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