- Kimberly White/Getty Images
- Twitter suspended its verification program after granting a verified badge to the organizer of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.
- The company says the suspension is only temporary, and that it is working on a fix.
- CEO Jack Dorsey weighed in on the issue, saying that the company has known for awhile that the system was broken.
Two days after awarding its “verified” badge to the organizer of August’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Twitter has suspended its entire verification program.
Twitter explains on its site that “a verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter.” But Ed Ho, general manager of Twitter’s consumer products and engineering group, said that when the service’s users see the verification badge, they think it means the company has in fact endorsed that particular person or that person’s views.
We should have stopped the current process at the beginning of the year. We knew it was busted as people confuse ID verification with endorsement. Have to fix the system, pausing until we do. https://t.co/HSLbJOG2AN
— Ed Ho (@mrdonut) November 9, 2017
In a separate tweet, company CEO Jack Dorsey called the system “broken.”
We should’ve communicated faster on this (yesterday): our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered. And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster. https://t.co/wVbfYJntHj
— jack (@jack) November 9, 2017
The company did not say how long it would suspend the verification program or how it would fix it. A Twitter spokeswoman said that any further updates would be tweeted from the Twitter Safety account.
Twitter takes steps to ensure that certain public figures or people who produce work that’s in the public interest are who they say they are. Typically those people are celebrities, politicians, or journalists. Once the company has authenticated such users, it places a “verified” checkmark next to their names.
Twitter’s move to put that program on hold came amid outrage over its decision to verify the account of Jason Kessler, who organized the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville that ended in violence and the death of a counterprotester after she was rammed by a car allegedly driven by a white supremacist. The Daily Beast reported that Twitter officially verified his account on Tuesday; as of this writing, Kessler still has his “verified” badge.