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Twitter doesn’t even know what “verification” means anymore

Twitter doesn’t even know what “verification” means anymore
[Photo: Bethany Clarke/Getty Images]

Today, Twitter announced it would pause the verification process, meaning anyone on the platform trying to get a blue checkmark will have to wait, for the time being.

This was in reaction to the company verifying Jason Kessler, one of the organizers behind the Charlottesville white supremacy rally that led to Heather Heyer’s death. Kessler, in fact, tweeted that Heyer was “fat disgusting Communist.” Seems like the kind of person Twitter would not want to amplify, but alas no.

It should be noted that other white supremacists, including Richard Spencer and James Allsup, have received blue checkmarks. Earlier this year, I made the case that Twitter should revoke verification badges from users like Louise Mensch, who routinely amplify conspiracies and spread misinformation.

The question Twitter battles now is: What is verification? If it’s only meant to authenticate people’s identities, why are so many people turned down when they apply? Also, why have people–including Milo Yiannopoulos–been stripped of their blue checkmarks if they’re not meant to be an “indicator of importance”? At least now, Jack Dorsey admits that the “system is broken.” Still, it’s unclear what system would do away with the meanings already ascribed to the blue checkmark.

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