White nationalist Richard Spencer loses Twitter verification

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Twitter says, "The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account is of public interest and is authentic".

"Twitter has changed their verification policy just to be able to censor me", claimed Kessler, who describes himself a journalist, while complaining about the deletion of another controversial profile known as "Baked Alaska", a USA white nationalist called Tim Gionet.

The Guardian reports that verification revocation stems from accounts that are "promoting hate and/or violence" and "inciting or engaging in harassment of others".

In a brief statement, Twitter said, "Verification has always been perceived as an endorsement". While it's also working on a new authentication and verification program and conducting internal reviews on verified accounts to see if they have breached its rules.

English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson and American white nationalist Richard Spencer were among those to lose their blue tick, a symbol which was introduced as a way to confirm the accounts of prominent people were genuine.

Laura Loomer, a far-right activist who recently was banned from using Uber and Lyft because of her anti-Muslim remarks, also lost her blue check mark on Twitter.

Now many of those far-right accounts have had those ticks removed.

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Originally, the blue tick was created to eliminate claims that verified users were "endorsed" by them.

The move marks the latest skirmish in a debate over speech that has exploded over the past couple years in both online forums like Twitter and those in the real world, like college campuses and city squares, as extremist figures with racially motivated views have increasingly moved into public view.

Robinson, the ex-EDL leader and outspoken critic of Islam, told HuffPost UK the move was a "blatant attack on free speech".

"Twitter has changed their verification policy just to be able to censor me", Kessler lamented. But the Internet didn't have much pity for any of the white nationalists who lost their verification status.

It's unclear why some Twitter users are losing their verification while others are removed from the site completely.

The social network confirmed it has revoked the "verification" badges from the profiles of racist instigators including Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer.

Verification helps promote the accounts, with Twitter thus giving them semiofficial consent. "We will continue to review and take action as we work towards a new program we are proud of".

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