Twitter verified Charlottesville white supremacist rally leader Jason Kessler, and so many things are wrong about this

After an exhausting year trying to understand the psychology behind most (read: all) of Twitter’s executive decisions, seeing their latest move is even more frustrating. Twitter recently verified the Charlottesville white supremacist rally leader Jason Kessler. We’re constantly perplexed by Twitter’s inability to protect users from violence, bullying, and hate-speech, or rather, Twitter serving as a breeding ground for harassment, and Twitter HQ struggling to contain it. Naturally, when people learned that a vocal white supremacist is now touting the blue checkmark, they questioned if his behavior is being condoned.

This move comes just a month after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Twitter “decided to take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them,” and that those new rules include parameters on dealing with: “unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.”

Twitter has already responded to the Kessler issue and claims that when they created the verification program, they did not anticipate that people would see it as an endorsement by Twitter. “Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the company wrote in a tweet.

Dorsey added that the verification “system is broken and needs to be reconsidered. And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster.”


While Twitter decides how to address the blue checkmark issue, it doesn’t erase the fact that Kessler’s voice has been “authenticated” — a voice he used to tweet: “Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting communist” and also “Shouldn’t Rose McGowan be held accountable for being a thot that will do anything for attention?”

Let’s hope Twitter solves this verification problem sooner than later.

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