Twitter to review all verified accounts with 'blue tick' stamp

Twitter to review all verified accounts with 'blue tick' stamp

That 'blue tick' Twitter verification sign might just disappear from verified handles for bad behaviour. The social networking giant on Thursday announced its decision to 'review' all its verified accounts, shooting off a warning tweet: "We will remove verification from accounts whose behaviour does not fall within the new guidelines."

Firing the first salvo, Twitter removed the verification status of far-right white supremacists, Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer.

The social media platform is now working on a new authentication and verification programme. Until a new system is in place, Twitter has also stopped accepting any public submission for verification. These decisions were publicised through a series of tweets from the @TwitterSupport handle.

Twitter was already under fire for not doing enough to tackle online abuse and trolls. This only got worse after hate groups with 'verified' accounts were found guilty of abusive tweets. The 'blue tick,' widely perceived as an endorsement for authenticity, has since been in the spotlight.

The new guidelines are clear that the verified status will be withdrawn if the Twitter user's behaviour on and off the platform promoted hate and/or violence against others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.

Intentionally misleading people by changing one's display name or bio will also invite cancellation of the verified status without notice. The status will also be lost if changes to the profile settings modify the account's original purpose, Twitter said in its revised help page for verified accounts.

Last week, Twitter had tweeted that the verification exercise, originally meant to authenticate identity and voice, was being seen as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. "We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it."

Launched in 2016, the 'blue tick' verification has typically been granted to public figures and organisations in film, fashion, media, government, politics, religion, sports, business and other key interest areas.

Most Indian filmstars, key politicians, mediapersons and business people have had their handles verified. The blue tick stamp has also come to symbolise authenticity since parody accounts and fan-pages of celebrities have mushroomed in the Twitter space.

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