On Wednesday, Twitter announced an update on actions it's taking to tweak its verification program.
Twitter suspended its verification process last week after the social network drew widespread outrage for giving the verification badge to Kessler's account. Verification, it said, may be removed for behavior running afoul of these rules "on and off Twitter". Doing so, however, has led to the perception that Twitter personally endorses the behaviors of its verified users, the company said. Jason Kessler, the Charlottesville organizer whose verification sparked the backlash, is no longer verified, and neither is notable punchee Richard Spencer. New guidelines for that program say Twitter will remove a verified badge if an account is found promoting hate or inciting harassment against others. "Instead of making verification about identity, now begins an endless, unresolvable series of editorial decisions that they'll be forced to defend", former Twitter executive Menotti Minutillo tweeted in response to the move. "Is it not okay to be proudly White?"
Denoted by a blue checkmark on an account, being verified by Twitter meant the person was "authentic" and bestowed additional settings. Soon after the policy change, a number of accounts lost their verification status. "We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception". It also isn't accepting any new submissions for people looking to get their accounts verified.
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Adding to the confusion was the fact that Twitter did de-verify the rightwing troll Milo Yiannopoulos in January 2016 (they subsequently banned him permanently in July 2016), without providing a clear explanation of what the new policy was. One of the first accounts to lose its blue checkmark was Laura Loomer, the far-right activist who was recently banned by Uber and Lyft following her complaints about Muslim drivers.
Kessler and other users were encouraging their followers to leave Twitter altogether, and switch to Gab, an online platform that many conservatives have used to discuss the growing alt-right movement.
On 19 October, the company rolled out a timeline for policy updates meant to "make Twitter a safer place".