By Alex Heath
- Twitter is reviewing all of its verified accounts and plans to remove verification from accounts that don’t adhere to its new rules.
- Verified badges won’t be given to any accounts until Twitter completely revamps its verification program.
- The company was met with backlash recently for verifying the organizer of August’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Twitter said that it was conducting a wide-sweeping review of its verified accounts with the goal of removing verification from accounts that don’t adhere to its new policies.
The move follows recent backlash Twitter received for awarding its coveted blue “verified” badge to the organizer of August’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twitter stopped verifying accounts altogether in response to the outcry.
“Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement,” Twitter said in a series of tweets on Wednesday. “This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.”
Twitter’s newly-updated guidelines for verified accounts say the company “reserves the right to remove verification at any time without notice,” and that removal could occur for actions like “misleading people” with fake names, promoting hate speech or violence, and harassing others.
Twitter started notifying users of their verification removal via email on Wednesday. One of the first accounts to lose its blue checkmark was Laura Loomer’s, the far-right activist whom Uber and Lyft recently banned following her complaints about Muslim drivers.
Other accounts that appeared to have lost their checkmarks on Wednesday included known white nationalist Richard Spencer and the organizer of Charlottesville’s white supremacist rally, Jason Kessler.
By clamping down on verified accounts, Twitter is attempting to stymie the mounting criticism it’s historically faced for not effectively combating abuse and hate speech on its network.
Twitter said that its verification program would remain paused until it revamps the criteria and system it uses to verify accounts.