Earlier this month Twitter vowed to review its verification process after an outcry over the awarding of blue ticks to notorious white supremacists.
The firm admitted what had been intended as a means of verifying identify was being “interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.”
The social network temporarily disabled the “broken” verification process and vowed to fix it.
This week, Twitter rescinded the blue ticks for some of the so-called ‘alt-right’ folks and said it would remove more for those who violated guidelines on inciting violence and hatred.
All’s well that end’s well, right? Well not quite.
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Twitter also mentioned that it reserved “the right to remove verification at any time without notice. Reasons for removal may reflect behaviors on and off Twitter…”
Off Twitter? Hmmm.
It further clarified the situation on Friday, with amended rules, confirming it was planning to police individuals’ behavior beyond Twitter.
“You also may not affiliate with organisations that — whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform — use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes,” the guidelines said (via Recode).
If you’re affiliated with those organisations, Twitter will begin taking action on December 18, giving folks a month to climb down from their controversial stances, or face action.
The firm didn’t say what the punishment would be, but it appears that verification will be rescinded (at least) and perhaps even full-on account blocking.
Twitter’s approach is problematic in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s likely to take up an incredible amount of extra resources. Secondly, with this action, Twitter seems to have made itself the thought police on a wide range of issues.
Policing behaviour in one’s own house (my house, my rules is a saying that exists for a reason), but to do so outside the home is a different matter altogether.
If the plan works, it should mean no more racists and bigots will be be getting blue ticks, at worse it all sounds a bit Orwellian to us…
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