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Late Wednesday night, Twitter took a dramatic, long-demanded step: removing verification for users who advocated for white supremacy and identified as Nazis.
Alongside the move, Twitter released new guidelines for its verification policy.
1 / UPDATE on our verification program and the actions we're taking.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 15, 2017
2 / Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 15, 2017
The verification badge removal was primarily targeted at prominent members of the far- and “alt-right,” the conservative movement that harbors white supremacists. One person who lost their check was conservative “citizen journalist” and agitator Laura Loomer, who recently was in the news for demanding ride-sharing services allow her to choose non-Muslim drivers. Loomer did not handle the news all that well, going on an evening-long tirade against Twitter for attempting to censor her and other far-right voices.
It’s important to note while reading Loomer’s response, the loss of Twitter verification—the small blue checkmark next to a user’s name—does not in any way limit their ability to tweet. The only changes to a de-verified user’s account are the loss of some additional account settings, such as the ability to filter replies. That’s it.
Twitter just emailed me to tell me they are removing my "verified badge" because they claim my account "doesn't comply with Twitter's guidelines for verified accounts."— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
Translation: I'm a conservative. pic.twitter.com/F1AsxWI6Fm
I could be sad about this and let it ruin my night, or I could view it as a compliment.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
I'll take this as a sign that I'm really effective at countering the left.
At the end of the day, it's all about your mindset and perspective. @Cernovich has helped me understand that. https://t.co/Hm5nXEXyWK
While she insisted she wouldn’t let it ruin her evening, there’s evidence in the form of lots of follow-up tweets that it, uh, did.
The funniest part about this is I literally just got off the train because I'm banned from using Uber and Lyft and I said to myself "Today was a great day, overall."— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
Then I checked my email.
First, Loomer went after other conservatives.
There are fake conservatives who claim to be pro free speech who are laughing at me being unverified on twitter. Being pro free speech isn't selective. It means you support everyone's speech, even if you don't like them.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
The problem with "the right" is the total lack of loyalty.
Too many people on the right only care about themselves, becoming famous, and getting likes and follows. They could care less about the movement.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
As soon as they are done using you for their own personal gain, they throw you under the bus and align with hostile liberals online.
She then began to describe Twitter’s removal of verification as a path toward the Holocaust.
Right after I posted my tweet about losing my verification badge, this article was posted by @ADL_National . It includes my tweet.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
This is more clear cut evidence that ADL is working with twitter to censor conservatives.
Why is "Jewish" ADL trying to silence a Jewish woman? https://t.co/1FBe47ix0i
To the LEFT:— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 15, 2017
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."
And so it begins. Twitter is quick to call me and others Nazis, but they are literally trying to eradicate my presence. Just like Hitler. https://t.co/qaVWOMKyc0— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
After getting called out for that example, Loomer fired back.
Yes, Laura, removal of your digital blue check is EXACTLY like the Holocaust.— Amanda Guinzburg (@Guinz) November 16, 2017
Let's see:— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
Using "badge politics", censoring those who don't worship twitter's liberal dictator, & implementing procedures to annihilate conservatives from the Internet?
Sounds like twitter is carrying out its own "final solution" for conservatives. https://t.co/yGRaH74Zzv
She also used a very famous phrase around the Holocaust to talk about her “censorship,” which, again, is not actually censorship in any form.
#NeverAgain should another conservative be censored on Twitter.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
Loomer did make a point that a lot of conservatives agree with and may have merit, that Twitter overlooks left-leaning personalities’ similar behavior.
How come Linda Sarsour, who LITERALLY CALLED FOR JIHAD AGAINST @realDonaldTrump still has her blue check mark?— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
Is promoting Sharia Law and Islamic terrorism on Twitter not a violation of Jack's new rules?
Again, this is 100% politically motivated. @TwitterSupport @jack pic.twitter.com/SCjiDp23oB
Loomer finished this evening by claiming she would not be silenced and promised more to come.
A fire like no other fire was just ignited inside of me tonight.— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
I will be putting a lot of microphones and cameras in people's faces. But, who knows, maybe I already have them on camera...
All I can say is, stay tuned. https://t.co/vVARvqCVsY
At the end of the day, life could be worse. I’m complaining about de-verification, but in some places in the world, ppl are killed just for using their voice. There’s more important issues and I’m better off directing my energy toward my investigations and helping the voiceless. pic.twitter.com/u3vkvLWhiu— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) November 16, 2017
So, it’s not the beginning of the Holocaust anymore, apparently.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]