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Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter. I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction. pic.twitter.com/IMXqtmhgvn— Jason Kessler (@TheMadDimension) November 7, 2017
The verification of Jason Kessler, whose rally led to the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, sparked backlash online.
hey @jack you verified a white supremacist, hey @jack you verified a white supremacist, hey @jack you verified a white supremacist, hey @jack you verified a white supremacist, hey @jack you verified a white supremacist, hey @jack you verified a white supremacist, hey @jack you ve https://t.co/A6sqVKWNJn— mamoudou n’diaye (@MamoudouNDiaye) November 8, 2017
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.
Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 9, 2017
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.
We should’ve communicated faster on this (yesterday): our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered. And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster. https://t.co/wVbfYJntHj— jack (@jack) November 9, 2017
People were still not satisfied.
You need to be a NAZI to be verified these days.— G. (@GuilleCummings) November 9, 2017
While you're at it, also examine your own biases. You know the ones that have you verifying Nazis with 15K followers, but not verifying POC that have more than 50K.— It's in the Queue ❄️ (@MissusQueue) November 9, 2017
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.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.