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Twitter strips blue verification badges from racists amid authentication policy overhaul

Twitter strips blue verification badges from racists amid authentication policy overhaul

The status will also be lost if changes to the profile settings modify the account's original goal, Twitter said in its revised help page for verified accounts.

Reasons for removal include: promoting hate or violence against (or directly attacking) other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease; inciting or engaging in harassment of others; violence and unsafe behaviour; disturbing imagery; self-harm and suicide content; or engaging in activity that violates any of the pre-existing Twitter rules. "Supporting organizations or individuals that promote the above; and inciting or engaging in harassment of others".

On Wednesday, the company announced changes to the Twitter verification, saying it is not happy with the way people perceive the verification system of the company. "We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of".

In recent weeks Twitter has cracked down on the accounts of multiple controversial personalities and issued new guidelines regarding its account verification and de-verification.

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Others who said they lost their verified status included the white nationalist Richard Spencer, far-right activists Laura Loomer and James Allsup, and Tommy Robinson, the host of a show on the fringe conservative site the Rebel TV. Twitter is removing badges from white supremacists and members of the alt-right.

Blue badges are seen nowadays as a form of endorsement, as Twitter explains. Kessler claimed Twitter changed its policy to "censor" him.

Spencer, meanwhile, remarked: "Verified no more!"

Twitter's purge of verified accounts is a commendable effort to protect its site from violence and hate speech, but this has inherent risks too.

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This increased the number of verified users, including those espousing far-right views.

Tweeting content that incites hate and harassment, includes violent or risky behavior, or violates Twitter's rules, could lead to removal of the verification badge. Twitter suspended its verification process after the outcry, said Wednesday it was continuing to draft a new policy.

A week ago, the popular social network was heavily criticized for allowing Kessler to have a verified badge, and on November 9, stopped Kessler's profile from having the verified insignia.

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