If you have certain kind of views about certain kind of politics or you align with a certain way of thinking when it comes to sociopolitically sensitive matters, geopolitical controversies, or culturally delicate situations, you could be unverified on Twitter.
On November 9th, 2017 Twitter’s official support account made a series of tweets indicating that they were changing the policy on who will be allowed to be verified and why some people will be unverified. The account states…
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it.
“Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have. This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.
“We’re working on a new authentication and verification program. In the meantime, we are not accepting any public submissions for verification and have introduced new guidelines for the program.
“We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of.”
They link to the new guidelines over on the official Twitter support site to explain how you can now lose your verified status if you did manage to get verified.
They list the following reasons:
Reasons for removal may reflect behaviors on and off Twitter that include:
- Intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing one’s display name or bio.
- 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.
- Inciting or engaging in harassment of others.
- Violence and dangerous behavior
- Directly or indirectly threatening or encouraging any form of physical violence against an individual or any group of people, including threatening or promoting terrorism
- Violent, gruesome, shocking, or disturbing imagery
- Self-harm, suicide
- Engaging in activity on Twitter that violates the Twitter Rules.
This led a lot people to question the verification system in the first place, since it was originally supposed to verify that the person is who they say they are. It’s how you determine the fake Donald Trump trolls from the real one. It’s how you can tell which one of the popular celebrities or politicians on Twitter are the real ones and which ones are the impersonators. Verified accounts get additional privileges of having their tweets shown through some of the more noise that can sometimes crowd up a feed.
Removing the blue checkmark isn’t the end of the world, but essentially having the service tell users that someone is no longer who they say they are because they adopt the wrong policies or politics means that only people Twitter approve of are allowed to be viewed as verified.
Twitter promptly exercised this measure by unverifying a number of far right Conservatives.
The truth is now hate speech pic.twitter.com/LHHFgdD05P
— Tommy Robinson 🇬🇧 (@TRobinsonNewEra) November 15, 2017
I’m seriously considering stop tweeting.
Yes, I know some might say “Don’t let the SJWs win!” But the fact is, I have no confidence in the platform. De-verfiying seems like a first step towards banning.
— Richard 🦃 Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) November 16, 2017
There are fake conservatives who claim to be pro free speech who are laughing at me being unverified on twitter. Being pro free speech isn’t selective. It means you support everyone’s speech, even if you don’t like them.
The problem with “the right” is the total lack of loyalty.
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
This fits in line with previous efforts by Twitter to unverify outspoken provocateurs such as Milo Yiannopolous before permanently banning him. Twitter also banned popular YouTuber Sargon of Akkad.
Twitter has been accused in the past of selectively banning and censoring Conservatives, and so far their actions don’t seem to dispute that claim.
Many questioned why certain extreme Leftists were not banned or unverified for certain tweets that clearly violated Twitters new rules.
— I,Hypocrite (@lporiginalg) November 16, 2017
So far, Twitter hasn’t exactly outlined why they must endorse the views of those they verify in order to verify them. However, for people who hold views that they don’t endorse, they will be unverifying them on the social media service.