Twitter Verified Charlottesville White Nationalist Jason Kessler and People Are Freaking Out

Twitter Verified Charlottesville White Nationalist Jason Kessler and People Are Freaking Out

Twitter announced Thursday that hit the pause button on future verifications as the status has created confusion.

In a statement, the company said: "Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice, but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance".

In the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally, which left a counter-protester dead, Kessler used his Twitter account to call the woman, Heather Heyer, "a fat, disgusting Communist".

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Still, there was strong uproar over Kessler's verification, with many wondering why Twitter chose to give the white nationalist the blue badge - especially after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted last month that the social media site would "take a more aggressive stance" in enforcing rules against "unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence".

In celebration of his newly verified status, Kessler tweeted "Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter". And for Twitter, the Kessler situation is yet another setback in its attempt to win back user trust after a decade of inaction. Optically, it suggested the opposite: that Twitter was conferring legitimacy and authority to a known white supremacist.

This verification was met by backlash from other Twitter users who criticized the site for verifying Kessler. Jack Dorsey vowed that his company would take a more aggressive stance on things like "hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence". "Looks like it was payback time", he wrote, according to reports. Any Twitter user can apply for verification, but at times the company has appeared to wield the coveted status as a weapon. As a result, verification was naturally a much more exclusive club, typically requiring a much larger presence than might be necessary to qualify now, perhaps contributing to the perception that verified accounts must have been deemed "important" by Twitter. He even said that Twitter, "should have stopped the current process at the beginning of the year".

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