A couple of days ago, Twitter announced that it started to remove the system’s verification badges from verified users who misconduct in the real life in terms of the views and leanings. In particular, Twitter has reportedly removed verification badges from several accounts that belong to the far-right. It is clear that Twitter aims to judge offline behavior of verified users, but it has left many questions unanswered.
In the first place, many experts and ordinary users reflect on why would Twitter remove the verification badges instead of simply blocking or muting such accounts? The company obviously predicted such questions and came with a clear answer: Twitter aims to judge offline behavior – not only how the users behave online anymore. A spokesperson for the company said that “a user will be punished by ordinary means in case if he/she violates the rules of Twitter online.” The company’s novelty is actually the realization of Twitter’s plan to supervise the behavior of the verified users offline. If a user has a verification badge on Twitter yet does not stick to them when being offline, then he/she is prone to losing his/her badge. This way, if a particular user has posted nothing but pictures of kittens on Twitter while leaning to the far-right in the real life, he/she is likely to lose his/her verification badge.
The evidence of the fact that Twitter aims to judge offline behavior of users can be spotted in the update of the social network’s policy, namely: “There may be numerous reasons for removal of the badge, including the user’s behavior on Twitter and beyond it.” Before this update occurred, Twitter’s rules applied only to the behavior of users in this social network. But the recent news shows that the users with Twitter verification badges will be held accountable for their actions in the real world as well. This shift in the company’s policy leaves many users with a great deal of unpredictability about how the final shape of that policy will be.
One of the brightest examples of what caused Twitter to change its policy is the case of Jason Kessler. He is an American white supremacist who organized the odious rally in Charlottesville. Yet, he also recently succeeded to get a verification badge for his newly registered account – the other accounts were deleted and all offending comments have been removed by him. And while there were certain offending comments he made with his new account, he didn’t violate Twitter’s policy, which allowed him to get a badge eventually.
At the present time, the company seems to have stopped providing new verification badges to anyone at all. Twitter’s CEO said that it is a temporary measure and that the company’s experts are working on a new program. In the meantime, the company promises to review as many as 287,000 Twitter accounts for offline behavior of their owners in the nearest future. Yet, it remains unknown what will happen next and what sort of a program Twitter will introduce.
Also, we suggest you to check other articles in our Twitter section.