Twitter announced Thursday that it will cease issuing the coveted blue check marks that indicate a user has been "verified." The announcement came after push back following the verification of Jason Kessler, the white supremacist organizer of the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville last August.
As Buzzfeed reports:
Twitter users began protesting Kessler’s verification shortly after it became public. For critics of Twitter’s ongoing failure to effectively address the harassment that occurs on its platform, the move was viewed as yet another example that the social network is not taking the appropriate actions to police its platform. Optically, it suggested the opposite: that Twitter was conferring legitimacy and authority to a known white supremacist.
Twitter argues that the decision to verify a user is based on authenticating that user’s identity (and to avoid mix-ups with parody or troll accounts) and is in no way an endorsement of that user. But those protesting Kessler’s verification note that Twitter offers special features and even abuse filters to verified users — a design choice that implies such users are privileged in some way from non verified users.
Oh, believe me, we are. As a holder of the blue check, I can assure you plebeians that the privileges accorded us verified humans are immense: Not only can I filter you non-notables out of my mentions, lets just say I get followed by a lot of Moldovan DJs. A lot. Try not to be too jealous.
Unfortunately for those of you awaiting your verification, Twitter seems to have listened to user criticism, at least this time.
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
They still have yet to explain why Donald Trump is permitted to issue death threats over the platform or why Matt McGorry blocked me.