Twitter halts 'broken' verification system

Jason Kessler speaks to the media on Sunday August 13th 2017 before getting chased away by a crowd upset about the death of Heather Heyer

Everyone is mad at Twitter again, this time over the company's decision to verify Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville this past August.

In response to this latest gaffe, Twitter announced that it would immediately suspend its verification process, which Dorsey described as "broken".

"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance", the site said in a tweet. Verifications have been "paused" until the company can resolve the "confusion".

That's because Mr. Kessler is a well-known white supremacist who has used Twitter to spread his message and organize rallies like Unite the Right's march in Charlottesville, Va., where torch wielding protesters marched through the streets chanting racist rallying cries.

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Before this halt, public interest accounts which includes those of users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas qualified to get verified. Twitter removed the blue check-mark from white-nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos before banning him from the platform past year.

Ed Ho, general manager of Twitter's consumer products and engineering group also chimed in: "We knew it was busted as people confuse ID verification with endorsement".

But many - including Yuh-Line Niou, a New York State Assembly member - are wondering why they still aren't verified while white nationalists like Kessler and Richard Spencer are.

About a week later, Kessler tweeted "Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist. Looks like it was payback time", before linking to the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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Twitter declined to comment on what, exactly, "general verifications" means - and whether it opens the door for specific accounts to be verified - or why it took so long to act on changing the verification system.

The company says the suspension is only temporary, and that it is working on a fix.

"We should've communicated faster on this", he said, acknowledging that the "system is broken".

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