About Your Privacy on this Site
Welcome! To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads. Those advertisers use tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on our sites and applications and across the Internet and your other apps and devices.
You always have the choice to experience our sites without personalized advertising based on your web browsing activity by visiting the DAA’s Consumer Choice page, the NAI's website, and/or the EU online choices page, from each of your browsers or devices. To avoid personalized advertising based on your mobile app activity, you can install the DAA’s AppChoices app here. You can find much more information about your privacy choices in our privacy policy. Even if you choose not to have your activity tracked by third parties for advertising services, you will still see non-personalized ads on our sites and applications. By clicking continue below and using our sites or applications, you agree that we and our third party advertisers can:
  • transfer your data to the United States or other countries; and
  • process and share your data so that we and third parties may serve you with personalized ads, subject to your choices as described above and in our privacy policy.
Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress/AP

Twitter Suspends Verifying Accounts After Giving White Supremacist a Blue Checkmark

Posted on

Twitter has suspended its account verification policy after it came under fire for giving a coveted blue checkmark used to establish authenticity of identities to Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the deadly Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

The social media company announced the news on Thursday, a day after Kessler’s verification was granted.

“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” Twitter said in a statement on its support account. “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.”

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said a change to the verification policy has long been necessary.

“Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered,” he tweeted, adding that he should have addressed the issue sooner. “And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster.”

Earlier, Kessler celebrated Twitter’s decision to verify his account, writing, “Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter. I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction.”

The 34-year-old white nationalist and “alt-right” activist has 13.2K followers.

Meanwhile, celebrities like Michael Ian Black criticized Twitter for the decision.

“Hey @jack: very active user, 2.1M followers here: this is disgusting,” Black wrote. “Verifying white supremacists reinforces the increasing belief that your site is a platform for hate speech. I don’t want to give up Twitter, but I may have to. Who do you value more, users like me or him?”

As the backlash mounted, Kessler defended himself. “I never claimed to be ‘superior’ to anyone else because of my race,” he said. “However, my people are beautiful, unique & deserve to have a voice like anyone else.”

RELATED VIDEO: Story Behind the Story: Charlottesville and the Death of Heather Heyer

The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville was intended to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, but turned deadly when a driver rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, on the University of Virginia campus.

Two Virginia state troopers, Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, also died in a helicopter crash near the demonstrations.

In the wake of the attack, Twitter became a place where members worked to identify the white nationalists who participated in the protests in an attempt to name (and shame) them.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence also got in on the effort, sharing photos of some marchers on Facebook. “These are the faces of hate. Look closely and post anyone you find,” Lawrence, 27, wrote in the post. “You can’t hide with the internet you pathetic cowards!”

Outbrain