The popular social media platform announced Thursday that it would suspend verifying accounts after it received heavy criticism for providing Jason Kessler, an organizer of the far-right Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with a verification badge on Wednesday. Twitter, which tends to quickly verify accounts belonging to journalists and public figures, describes the blue checkmark as a symbol indicating an account's authenticity, meaning that it belongs to the person "of public interest" who claims to use it. Verifications have been "paused" until the company can resolve the "confusion".
The issue was a larger part of Twitter's issues with dealing with abuse, but the platform received more scrutiny after a white supremacist killed counter-protestor Heather Hayer with his vehicle during a right-wing rally in Charlottesville in August. It was yet another situation that the company has had to make amends on, just a week after the accidental deletion of President Trump's Twitter account and testifying in Washington over how its service had been used by Russian agents previous year to sow discord.
Looking to get that little blue check mark next to your Twitter handle? "We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon". "I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction".
"They've always said from the beginning that verification is not an endorsement, but a check mark in our culture does seem to convey that to many people", said Stephen Balkam, founder of the Family Online Safety Institute, a nonprofit that's part of Twitter's Trust and Safety Council.
Shortly thereafter, Kessler tweeted a series of attacks against Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed at the rally. "Working now to fix faster". Chief executive Jack Dorsey said Twitter should have communicated its doubts about the verification system to users faster, and that the network had realized it needed to overhaul its verification process "some time ago".
They still have yet to explain why Donald Trump is permitted to issue death threats over the platform or why Matt McGorry blocked me.