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Twitter halts verification process amid Jason Kessler backlash

Don't expect to get Twitter's coveted blue check mark any time soon.


Twitter temporarily stops its verification process.

Megan Wollerton/CNET

Twitter temporarily suspended its verification process on Thursday after the social network drew widespread outrage for giving the recognizable blue-and-white check mark to the account of a noted white supremacist. 

In a tweet, the social network said verifications weren't endorsements, but acknowledged the process had created confusion. The company said it had suspended new verifications while it worked on refining the process. 

 Here's what @TwitterSupport had to say:

Twitter's move followed an uproar caused by the verification of an account belonging to Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The August rally turned violent as neo-Nazis clashed with protesters, leaving one dead and dozens injured. 

At the time, Kessler called Heather Heyer, the victim, "a fat, disgusting Communist" in a tweet. He then appeared to justify her death by saying, "Communists have killed 94 million. Looks like it was payback time." 

He later deleted the tweet, saying his account had been hacked. He then changed his story, blaming his comments on mixing alcohol with prescription drugs. 

The drama over Kessler comes just weeks after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a string of tweets the company was taking a more aggressive stance eliminating "hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorifies violence.

On Thursday, Dorsey acknowledged problems with the system in a tweet:

In response to the backlash of his blue badge, Kessler tweeted Wednesday that "I never claimed to be "superior" to anyone else because of my race. However, my people are beautiful, unique & deserve to have a voice like anyone else."

He later posted a poll asking his nearly 14,000 followers: "is it okay to be white?" The poll had nearly 50,000 responses by midday Thursday.

First published Nov. 9, 9:29 a.m. PT.
Update, 11:17 a.m. PT: Adds background about Kessler. 
Update, 1:30 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. 

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