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Twitter verifies organiser of white supremacist Charlottesville rally where Heather Heyer was killed

Twitter said it would overhaul its method for verifying users after facing a groundswell of outrage for confirming an avowed white supremacist.

Elected officials, journalists and other public figures on Twitter often feature a blue check mark next to their name, which affirms that they are who they say they are. People can apply for verification by submitting basic identifying information to Twitter.

Earlier this week, it emerged that Twitter had verified the account of Jason Kessler, the leader of a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville that spiraled into violence as a driver mowed down counter-protesters and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Kessler disparaged the slain woman on Twitter as a “fat, disgusting Communist” and called her murder “payback time”.

The revelation that Twitter had lent its imprimatur to such a figure unleashed an angry response and, within hours, led the site to issue a statement pledging to temporarily halt new verifications as it reexamine the process.

“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance”, the site said in a tweet. “We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it”.

CEO Jack Dorsey added that, while employees had followed the verification system properly, the the system itself was faulty.


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