Twitter Stops Verification Process After Charlottesville White Supremacist Gets Blue Check

Twitter Stops Verification Process After Charlottesville White Supremacist Gets Blue Check”

"We recognise that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it".

The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was meant to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, but turned deadly when a driver rammed his auto into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, on the University of Virginia campus. As such, "all general verifications" have been paused until a solution is found to an arguably bigger problem than even Twitter's lack of an edit button. Usually, the account gets verified if the account holder is a public figure with lots of followers.

Now Twitter is walking that language back after it was revealed an organizer of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville had been verified.

Whether you feel 280 character tweets give the social network's users more room to express themselves in a meaningful or engaging way, or think the recent change ruins the charm and uniqueness of Twitter, there's really nothing you can do about it anymore.

After Heather Heyer, a counter-protester, was killed after she was run over by a suspected neo-Nazi who plowed his vehicle into a group of demonstrators during the August 12 rally, Kessler tweeted: 'Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist. "Looks like it was payback time".

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said a change to the verification policy has always been necessary.

"A verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter", the company says. These are both significant issues, to be sure, but they're only part of a larger problem: the fact that Twitter can't seem to stop making matters worse. And he frequently uses Twitter as a platform to promote his beliefs.

"An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest", according to Twitter. And who decides how publicly interesting is publicly interesting enough?

Twitter's decision to suspend all verifications is a cop-out.

The blowback triggered a response from Twitter on Thursday that effectively put a hold on its process of verifying users.

But Twitter is not content-neutral, and as long as the site is shutting some people down and propping others up, anyone with a brain will recognize that.

The increasingly popular hashtag refers to the very controversial recent Twitter verification of freelance journalist, white nationalist and alt-right activist Jason Kessler.

Now Twitter must decide how to go forward with verification, and later it will have a large communications challenge to tackle.

Mr. Kessler's verification nonetheless made waves this week, particularly in light of Twitter taking heat in the past from critics who've accused the company of catering to neo-Nazis and other racists.

What should Twitter's next steps be, PR Daily readers?

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