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Twitter pauses verifications after Charlottesville rally organizer gets blue check

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Jack Dorsey

But it also clarified that verification is not meant to be an endorsement. But those protesting Kessler's verification note that Twitter offers special features and even abuse filters to verified users - a design choice that implies such users are privileged in some way from non verified users. "We have created this confusion".

Twittter originally verified accounts of "public interests", such as journalists, public figures and celebrities.

But the verified account of a white supremacist caused an outburst from Twitter users against Kessler. As a result, verification was naturally a much more exclusive club, typically requiring a much larger presence than might be necessary to qualify now, perhaps contributing to the perception that verified accounts must have been deemed "important" by Twitter.

Events in Charlottesville resulted in the death of protester Heather Hayer - who Kessler called a "fat, disgusting communist" in the aftermath. "We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon".

"Twitter has made a mess of everything related to race, racial harassment, online hate and this is just one more example of their inability to get it together on this front", said Heidi Beirich, spokeswoman for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The issue was a larger part of Twitter's issues with dealing with abuse, but the platform received more scrutiny after a white supremacist killed counter-protestor Heather Hayer with his auto during a right-wing rally in Charlottesville in August.

Dorsey added: "We should've communicated faster on this: our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realised some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered".

A tweet from the company's support account suggested that the verification scandal was a misunderstanding.

Ed Ho, general manager of Twitter's consumer product, tweeted that the company has known for a while there are problems with if verification program. "Looks like it was payback time".

Ho said that they have to fix the issue, and are "pausing until we do". The company did not offer a timeline on when these changes may go into effect.

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