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Twitter halts verification system after Charlottesville organizer gets blue check

The social network received backlash for verifying the Charlottesville rally organizer.


Phillip Tracy


Posted on Nov 9, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 11:39 am CDT

Twitter is pausing all “general verifications” after receiving criticism for verifying the man behind the deadly Charlottesville rally in August.

The verification of Jason Kessler, whose rally led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, sparked backlash online.

The company’s official support page explained in a tweet that its verification tag, which was originally meant to authenticate celebrities and influencers, is now being interpreted by users as an endorsement from Twitter.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey chimed in, admitting the social giant “failed by not doing anything about it.” He assured his “agents” were following protocol correctly and that the issue lies in the verification system itself.

People were still not satisfied.

Kessler took to Twitter after the Charlottesville rally to attack Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed in the incident.

“Heather Heyer was a fat, disgusting Communist,” Kessler wrote on his Twitter profile with a link to the white nationalist site The Daily Stormer. “Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time.”

Twitter’s controversial decision to verify Kessler comes less than a week after it updated its rules to offer users more visibility into its unpredictable decision-making process.

It’s not clear what changes the company is planning or when those changes will go into effect, though Dorsey promised to “fix faster.” Kessler still has a small blue verified checkmark underneath his confederate flag banner.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Twitter and will update this article if we hear back.

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*First Published: Nov 9, 2017, 11:29 am CST