Twitter removing white supremacists’ verified badges

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Twitter takes out the verification badges of at least 4 white supremacist or alt-right accounts, and says it is reviewing its system of giving out the badges

MANILA, Philippines – Twitter announced on Thursday, November 16, that it is reviewing the behavior of Twitter users with verified accounts, and removing the verification badges from users deemed to have broken the rules on the social media service.

Twitter said verification badges have been perceived as an endorsement of specific users. 

The company explained, “We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception,” and the perception “became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.”


 

While the company works on improving its verification badge system, it is taking steps to remedy the perception problem. Twitter is removing badges from white supremacists and members of the alt-right. 

The Verge reported that at least 4 personalities lost their verified badges earlier. These were:

  • Jason Kessler, a white supremacist and organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August
  • Richard Spencer, a prominent white supremacist who also participated in the Charlottesville rally
  • Laura Loomer, a right-wing activist banned from ride-hailing services after posting an anti-Muslim rant on Twitter
  • Tommy Robinson, the former leader of a British anti-Islam group 

Meanwhile, Tim Gionet, who tweeted under the alt-right name Baked Alaska, was banned from the service.

The verification support page on Twitter states that it reserves the right to remove a user’s verification at any time without notice. 

Verification can be removed for “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” or for “supporting organizations or individuals that promote the above.”

The users who lost their verification did not take the development well, calling the removal of their badges a form of censorship.



 

– Rappler.com 

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.