Richard Spencer, Laura Loomer Unverified On Twitter For 'Promoting Hate'

Friday, 17 Nov, 2017

The social media network tweeted on Wednesday: "Verification has always been perceived as an endorsement".

Twitter said its badge on accounts was being misinterpreted as an indicator of importance or endorsement, and said the idea behind the badge would change.

Mr. Kessler and some other Twitter users, including fellow white nationalist Richard Spencer and far-right commentator Laura Loomer, were among those stripped of their verified badges in the wake of the policy change Wednesday. These include accounts with misleading identities on Twitter, ones that promote hate or violence based on race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion and gender.

Twitter said it is designing a new verification and authentication program, but for the time being, would remove the verification badges from the accounts whose behavior is not in line with its new guidelines. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritise the work as we should have.

The company announced new guidelines for the verification program, and will remove verification from accounts that fall outside those rules.

Several users, including Kessler and white supremacist Richard Spencer, have already complained on Twitter about their losing their verified status. The company now faces increased pressure to censor a range of far-right accounts to eliminate hatred and harassment - a move interpreted by nationalists as an attempt to stifle free speech. They admit the process worsened after July 2016 when they allowed users to request to get a verified account.

A week after the ruckus over blue checks on Twitter, the company has updated its policy on verifications and revoked the verifications of some white supremacists.

It's just the latest in a long line of promises to clear up issues on the platform around abuse and hate speech.

But others suggested the move puts Twitter in a "tricky place" and that it could be seen as an endorsement of some views over others. At the time, most of the verified accounts were of celebrities, athletes, musicians, journalists and media outlets. Twitter may be stripping some - predominately right-wing - users of verification at the moment, but these users are not being blocked from the site in any way. In an update thread from November 15, Twitter added, "We're working on a new authentication and verification program".