Twitter's new guidelines strip many accounts of their verified 'blue tick' status

On the 9th of November, Twitter had announced that it would be pausing any new verified status following the controversy that had been created when Twitter had awarded the status to the Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler.

Today Twitter has removed the blue verified check mark that it gives to accounts from a number of prominent right-wing people such as the Alt-Right's Richard Spencer and Tommy Robinson of the English Defense League, as well as Kessler, following the application of new guidelines.

Twitter's blue check marks were supposed to authenticate identity "and voice" but had been interpreted as an endorsement, or that Twitter was indicating these accounts as being important. Twitter believes this perception was amplified due to verified accounts being given a place of prominence on the platform.

Twitter has subsequently updated its policies so that those who do violate its guidelines can now have their verified status removed. The potential violations include a number of things that also relate to terrorism and violent imagery but a large clause from its blog post states that:

Promoting hate and/or violence against, or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. Supporting organizations or individuals that promote the above.

Quickly after this announcement, the verified status started disappearing from a number of white supremacists accounts and the controversial Baked Alaska's account was even suspended.

Recently, a number of Nazi subreddits were banned from Reddit and a prominent far-right website has had its hosting services stripped. It certainly seems that many companies are distancing themselves from the far right and making it harder for Neo-Nazi-sympathizers to voice their opinions.

Some conservatives have expressed outrage that the move has not been equally applied across the political spectrum and is unfair. Overall these new guidelines do spark many questions about free speech, hate speech, and the rights people should have in terms of social media, that is - if we forget that the privately owned (social media) companies ultimately decide who they want on their platform.

Source: Twitter via The Independent

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