Twitter Removes White Supremacists’ Blue Checkmarks, Is Coming for Hateful Display Names Next
Just last week, Twitter bestowed the verification checkmark—which isn’t supposed to signify importance or endorsement but very clearly does just that—on Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville that left counterprotester Heather Heyer murdered. The backlash was intense and immediate. Twitter responded that they were looking into the issue, but based on how Twitter normally handles these things, we weren’t expecting much, if anything, to happen.
Then, today, we woke up to a whole bunch of mad racists.
Twitter has changed their verification policy just to be able to censor me. Several other accounts were unverified including Richard Spencer and James Allsup while Baked Alaska was permanently suspended altogether. pic.twitter.com/PO1QnJC2C6
— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) November 15, 2017
Twitter just emailed me to tell me they are removing my "verified badge" because they claim my account "doesn't comply with Twitter's guidelines for verified accounts."
Translation: I'm a conservative. pic.twitter.com/F1AsxWI6Fm
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
The truth is now hate speech pic.twitter.com/LHHFgdD05P
— Tommy Robinson 🇬🇧 (@TRobinsonNewEra) November 15, 2017
I get that Richard Spencer objects to these decisions, and feels weirdly entitled to being able to run free on a site that supports his racist ideals. I object to Twitter’s history of not giving a crap about the abuse spewed by people like Spencer, and I was vocal about my desire to exist on a social media platform that wasn’t overrun by Nazis. So, Rich, I know how frustrating it must be for you not to have your wishes respected! I get it, and I very much don’t care.
In related news, Richard Spencer doesn’t know what “net neutrality” means.
It's time for Washington to regulate Silicon Valley.
Law-abiding citizens should have a right to use social networks, payment systems, and hosting, which make up the public square of the 21st century.#NetNeutrality
— Richard 🎅🏻 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) November 16, 2017
Twitter has officially updated their verification policy to prohibit “Promoting hate and/or violence against, or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. Supporting organizations or individuals that promote the above.” Also prohibited is “Inciting or engaging in harassment of others.”
Shouldn’t a lot more Republicans be mad that white supremacists are calling these things “right-wing” and “conservative” values?
According to Twitter’s calendar of upcoming changes, there are more bans on the horizon. Starting next week, they’ll be cracking down on “hateful display names.” December will see a ban on condoning and glorifying violence, and an “expanded enforcement of unwanted sexual advances.”
To most of us, it’s ludicrous that any of these things would be presently tolerated, but I understand, I guess, that a rollout is more practical than trying to police all toxic behavior at once. Of course, it might have helped things if they’d started listening to their users’ reports of rampant abuse earlier than, like, this month.
What do you all think? Do you trust Twitter to rectify their longstanding habit of looking the other way when it comes to racism and hate?
(image: Shutterstock + impressive personal artistry)
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