Social networking site Twitter has decided to pause its general verification process, while clarifying that the blue tick mark granted to verified handles is not an indicator of endorsement or importance as has been so far presumed.
Twitter put a finger on the pause button following outrage over the verification of twitter handle of Jason Kesler, organiser of a far-right rally that allegedly instigated violence in Charlottesville in August this year.
Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter. I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction. pic.twitter.com/IMXqtmhgvn— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) November 7, 2017
Since the verified accounts constitute only a small portion of the total number of twitter users, they imply significant importance if not explicitly endorsed. Thus, verifying the handle of Kessler seemed tantamount to legitimising a white supremacist by many.
Shitlib tears they are a-flowin' https://t.co/ckJ49Q0bWC— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) November 8, 2017
Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and chief executive officer of the social media giant tweeted that the 'verification system is broken' and is being 'reconsidered'.
We should’ve communicated faster on this (yesterday): our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered. And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster. https://t.co/wVbfYJntHj— jack (@jack) November 9, 2017
Kessler was instrumental in organising the 'Unite the Right' rally that took place in Charlottesville. A woman was killed and 19 injured in the university town when a car driven by a pro-Nazi sympathiser plowed into a crowd after the white nationalist protest rally turned violent.
Kessler had called the dead woman a "fat disgusting Communist" on Twitter and said her death was "payback". His account then was not verified.
Following outrage over his handle's recent verification, Twitter has come up with a clarification saying, 'Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.'
Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2017
Almost all prominent personalities, from actors, athletics, politicians and journalists have their accounts verified.The verification also helps in distinguishing authentic accounts from ones impersonating them. However, the media company has explained the blue badge does not validate or endorse the user.
CEO Jack Dorsey has since apologised for the 'broken' system.
"Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered. And we failed by not doing anything about it."
The social networking site had earlier suspended the verification of actress Rose McGowan 's handle after she described her alleged sexual assault there. The move caused Twitter backlash. With the verifying of Kessler's handle, it only grew.
According to the Twitter account policy, a blue tick badge indicates verification and 'lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.'
Those who wish to get their accounts verified need to submit a request, declaring the reasons to do so. Twitter also requires "a copy of your official government-issued photo identification (e.g. passport or driver’s license) in order to confirm your request."
"If the account represents a person, we want to understand their impact in their field. If it represents a corporation or company, let us know their mission," the company states.