Twitter has updated its verification policy to allow for the removal of verification from accounts that promote hate speech or violence, or that harass others.
“We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines,” a Twitter Support tweet read. “We will continue to take action as we work toward a new program we are proud of.”
The social media company paused its verification program last week in response to criticism over the verification of Jason Kessler, the man who organized the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Users received email notifications of their verification removal Wednesday.
“We’re writing to let you know that the verified badge associated with your account [account name here] will be permanently removed,” the message reads. “We’re doing so after determining that your account does not comply with Twitter’s guidelines for verified accounts. In accordance with our Terms of Service, Twitter may remove the verified badge and verified status of a Twitter account at any time.”
Among users who lost their verified status are Kessler and "alt-right" activists Richard Spencer and Laura Loomer.
Loomer accused Twitter of removing her account because of her conservative political views.
Verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly White? 🤷🏻♂️— Richard 🦁 Spencer (@Richard 🦁 Spencer)1510788258.0
In response to the Kessler backlash, Twitter attempted to reassert the fact that verification was simply a method of authenticating identity. But by removing users’ verification based on behavior, Twitter appears to be shifting the verified status to represent endorsement of views and actions as well.
It will be worth watching what other accounts lose verified status as Twitter continues its review. For example, the Twitter account belonging to Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is still verified, as is the account of actor Kevin Spacey.
Weinstein was ousted from his company and disavowed by Hollywood for numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. Spacey has been accused of sexual assault or harassment against more than a dozen men, some of them when they were teenagers.