Who knew that verifying a white nationalist’s account on Twitter can cause such a huge sh*tstorm? Well, Twitter should have known better that digital and social media nerves are very much frayed in the US right now. Giving the main organizer of the Unite the Right white-supremacist rally a blue check mark on his account wasn’t really going to get them any brownie points with users. But the result of that is that they have now rolled out new rules about how verified accounts can actually lose their status.
Without actually referring to the aforementioned white supremacist Jason Kessler, Twitter explained that even the verified accounts can lose their blue check mark if they engage in behavior on and off the social network that they deem inappropriate. This includes promoting hate and violence based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, etc and also supporting organizations that promote these.
Obviously, Kessler fits into this category and so he has since then lost that coveted blue check badge. And predictably, he did not appreciate this “censorship” from Twitter and feels that he has not violated anything in their new policy, which he also claims Twitter did just to be able to censor him. Stated in the new rules for verified status is the fact that Twitter reserves the right to remove the verification without any notice to the user.
For those thinking what’s the big deal about having or losing the verified badge, accounts that have it get heightened visibility and even special features like content filters and the ability to view notifications differently than us lesser Twitter beings. It’s usually given to celebrities and accounts of “public interest”. Having these new rules will probably not affect how people still behave on and off Twitter, but other users may have an easier time reporting those verified accounts that they feel violate the policies.