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Twitter Removes White Supremacists’ Blue Checkmarks, Is Coming for Hateful Display Names Next

twitter nazis racists verified

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.

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Then, today, we woke up to a whole bunch of mad racists.

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. 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.

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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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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