Twitter has temporarily halted verifying its users after backlash over an infamous white nationalist getting the distinction.
Jason Kessler organized a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August that sparked violent unrest there associated with three deaths.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” Twitter’s support team said in a statement.
“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.”
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
The Daily Beast on Wednesday reported that Twitter had granted Kessler its verification check mark the day before.
Verified users’ profiles and tweets typically surface higher in searches, potentially allowing their posts to get noticed faster on Twitter.
Twitter’s description of its blue verification badge states that it “lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.”
Kessler’s verification came 26 days after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey vowed in October to erasing “hate symbols, hate groups and tweets that glorifies violence” from the social media platform.
Charlottesville erupted in violence last August surrounding the controversial “Unite the Right” rally Kessler organized.
The rally attracted scores of white nationalists who descended upon Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee there.
The situation ultimately turned violent, however, when a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters opposing the white nationalists.
The collision killed Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal from Charlottesville, and two Virginia State Police Department officers also died in a helicopter crash linked to the unrest there.
Kessler deleted a prior Twitter account in August after he tweeted that Heyer “was a fat, disgusting Communist” and that her death “was payback time.”
The white nationalist later blamed the tweet on taking too many prescription drugs mixed with alcohol.