Twitter suspends blue check mark verifications

Jason Kessler speaks to the media on Sunday August 13th 2017 before getting chased away by a crowd upset about the death of Heather Heyer

In a tweet outlining the decision, the social platform said, "verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance". That's so famous people, like politicians and high-profile actors, don't have to worry about others impersonating them online.

The revelation that Twitter had lent its imprimatur to such a figure unleashed an angry response and, within hours, led the site to issue a statement pledging to temporarily halt new verifications as it reexamine the process.

If you have been waiting for a blue tick from Twitter, sorry. Twitter has also verified prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer.

Milo Yiannopoulos, former contributor for the right-wing site Breitbart, was also verified and then "un-verified" by Twitter, according to Vanity Fair, before he was permanently banned from the site.

Which is why people got upset on Wednesday when Twitter verified Kessler, a move that, in the minds of many, legitimized a white supremacist.

In an earlier article covering the topic, we noted that Twitter meant to take a look at how it verified public figures. And among users, the blue checkmark has become a sort of status symbol that implies legitimacy-many are more likely to trust a verified account simply due to its verified status. How exactly Twitter plans to clear up the confusion it created around verification remains to be seen. Twitter's user guidelines allow for anonymous accounts, and anonymous users have been a big part of Twitter's identity and culture since the company's founding. Adding a badge to a profile does differentiate a user and can be viewed as giving more credibility to an account simply because it has gone through a review process. Kessler disparaged the slain woman on Twitter as a "fat, disgusting Communist" and called her murder "payback time".

Kessler did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Twitter's latest decision.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed up the message with a tweet of his own, saying the company should've "communicated faster".

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