It seems that at some point between helping Donald Trump get elected and helping him destroy democracy, Twitter realized it has a certain amount of political influence. On Wednesday, the social media platform removed its blue “verification” checkmark from the profiles of white nationalists such as Human Punching Bag Richard Spencer.
While Twitter’s verification badge is afforded to celebrities, athletes, politicians and other public figures, such as Spencer, the company has clarified that it will remove verification at any time for several reasons, including “promoting hate and/or violence against, or directly attacking or threatening other people on the base of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.”
In a series of (what else) Tweets Wednesday, the company explained the reasoning behind removing various verifications: “Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement. We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception … This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse.”
Cool. So Twitter has essentially made an official statement against white supremacy. But what does removing Richard Spencer’s verification do? Will his supporters now spend the rest of their lives in constant fear that the racist shit coming from Spencer’s account is not actually coming from Spencer?
Also, it may be of interest to note that Twitter has stated it will remove verification from any account that is found “inciting or engaging in harassment of others.” Um, hi Twitter, excuse us, but may we direct you to the account of our nation’s leader, Twit-in-Chief? We’re pretty sure that constantly goading a totalitarian leader into nuclear war should be considered harassment. Like… We feel harassed.