Twitter starts de-verifying Right Wing Twitter handles as per ‘new guidelines’

Last week the micro-blogging platform Twitter announced that it has paused general verification of profiles since people started misinterpreting verified Twitter profile as endorsement by Twitter.

Today morning they tweeted how they are now in the process of de-verification of already verified Twitter profiles where the user’s behaviour does not fall under the ‘new guidelines’.

One of the initial casualties of this this de-verification are Right Wing activists like Tommy Robinson, co-founder and former spokesperson of the English Defence League (EDL), a ‘street protest’ and British Nationalist movement. He left EDL in 2013 and in 2016 he set up Pegida UK, an anti-Islam organisation named after German nationalist party Pegida.

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Twitter announced new guidelines for blue ticks, saying users can lose their status if they “promote hate,” harass or threaten people based on “race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability [or] disease.”

The rules apply to behavior “on and off” Twitter, meaning users can lose their verification even if they do not violate its rules directly.

Other accounts which were de-verified are allegedly extreme Right Wing commentator Richard Spencer, and and Jason Kessler, who organized a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Twitter users outraged over this selective censorship where activists are ‘de-verified’ but Hollywood celebrities who have been recently accused of sexual harassment by multiple men and women are still ‘verified’ on Twitter.

The change in policy was criticised by Twitter users who thought this is more like policing rather than identity verification.

At a time when Twitter is completely uncooperative when it comes to helping women and men deal with abuse and rape threats and other harassment faced by many of us on a regular basis, these new ‘guidelines’ of policing individual behaviour of verified Twitter handles feels very juvenile.


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