You haven’t made it in this world until you’ve got a blue tick next to your name on Twitter, or so the perception goes.
The verified account identifier started out as a means of allowing people to prove their accounts were legit, but has recently morphed into a class system seen as a mark of importance. And that’s a problem.
Now, Twitter has decided to place verifications on hold, following complaints the ticks have added weight to the comments of some controversial users.
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey says the system is “broken and needs to be reconsidered.”
In a statement on Thursday the company admitted it was responsible for any confusion created by the award of a blue tick to some accounts.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the company said (via Sky).
“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,” the firm added.
Twitter has come under fire specifically for verifying the account of the alt-right (read white supremacist) leader Jason Kessler, who organised the infamous “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville this summer.
One protester was killed during the rally and, in the aftermath of the tragedy, Kessler labelled Heather Heyer “a fat, disgusting Communist” in a now-deleted tweet.
Dorsey said Twitter’s reaction to the situation was late, claiming it “should have been handled.”
Recently Dorsey doubled down on Twitter’s commitment to stamp out. “hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence,” so this isn’t a good look.
It’s unclear where Twitter goes from here. Verified accounts are a great way to protect against fakes, so we’d expect to see a tightening of the policy rather than the firm abandoning it.
In the meantime, it doesn’t appear as if currently verified accounts are seeing any change.
The move comes on a big week for Twitter, during which it ditched the 140-character limit for good, in favour of 280-character tweets.
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