Several popular conservative Twitter accounts have been stripped of their account verification, including anti-Islam activist and commentator Tommy Robinson, and commentator Laura Loomer.
“Wife With a Purpose,” and alt-right figurehead Richard B. Spencer also lost their verification badges.
Verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly White? 🏻♂️
— Richard Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) November 15, 2017
The deverifications come after Twitter’s announcement of new rules, which further politicize verification on the platform despite the company’s claims that verification serves purely as a way to find the official accounts of public figures.
According to the new rules, “Twitter reserves the right to remove verification at any time without notice.”
The company published a list of ways that accounts can lose their verification, including:
- Intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing one’s display name or bio.
- 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.
- Inciting or engaging in harassment of others.
- Violence and dangerous behavior.
- Directly or indirectly threatening or encouraging any form of physical violence against an individual or any group of people, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
- Violent, gruesome, shocking, or disturbing imagery.
- Self-harm, suicide.
- Engaging in activity on Twitter that violates the Twitter Rules.
Twitter has also announced that accounts which were previously verified and then stripped of verification will not be able to receive it again.
In a statement, Twitter warned that other accounts would also lose their verification, declaring, “We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of.”
5 / We are conducting an initial review of verified accounts and will remove verification from accounts whose behavior does not fall within these new guidelines. We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 15, 2017
Twitter temporarily halted verification applications this month, following complaints over the verification of Charlottesville alt-right rally organizer Jason Kessler.
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
In response, Twitter claimed user verification serves the sole purpose of verifying a public figure’s identity. However, others quickly accused the company of hypocrisy, citing the removal of verification of conservatives, including former Breitbart Senior Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who lost his verification badge before being permanently suspended from the platform.
This mistake from day one has been to politicize the verification process I️ the first place with people like Milo and Assange https://t.co/gEwsk7de5E
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) November 9, 2017
You should start by being honest. Verification has never been about authenticating identity, has always been about choosing winners & losers
— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) November 9, 2017
WikiLeaks Founder and Editor Julian Assange has repeatedly been denied Twitter verification too, despite being a major political figure with over 550,000 followers.
— Assange Defence (@AssangeDefence) March 14, 2017