Twitter announced Thursday that it is choosing to suspend its verification program altogether after it came under fire for verifying known white nationalist Jason Kressler earlier this week.
On Tuesday, Kressler, who organized the deadly alt-right rally in Charlottesville this past summer, proudly tweeted about receiving the coveted blue checkmark.
“Looks like I FINALLY got verified by Twitter,” he wrote. “I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction.” (Kessler is in fact not the only “working class white advocate” who is verified on Twitter; other bold-faced names include Richard Spencer and Mike Cernovich, the alt-right media personality who helped escalate the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory.)
In a tweet early Thursday, founder Jack Dorsey attempted to apologize on behalf of Twitter and promised that the company would take immediate action to remedy the situation.
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
“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,” he wrote. “And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster.”
A tweet from the social media platform’s official handle further attempted to clarify its stance on the verified-profile program Thursday.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the account wrote. “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 users looking to get verified typically have to submit an online form that requests an email address, phone number and website link to a biography that specifies “an area of expertise and/or a company mission.”