According to Twitter and their guide to verifying accounts:
“An account may be verified if it is determined to be an account of public interest. Typically this includes accounts maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas.”
They also then back that up with a swift get-out-clause:
“A verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter.”
Shame then, that it appears that this mantra extends to verifying Very Bad People, like the odd white supremacist, as was proved when Jason Kessler - one of the main organisers of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was verified last year.
As such, actor Seth Rogen has rightly taken offense to this and has been holding a private conversation with Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey. Only it doesn’t seem to have gone too favourably:
And it seems that people are in agreement with Rogen, with an outpouring of support of Twitter directed at their mishandling of verified accounts flooding in:
Twitter has a long history of its members directing criticism towards it due to its handling of “undesirables” and a full and satisfactory solution has yet to materialise. However, in 2016 Twitter did remove about 235,000 accounts for violating its policies regarding the promotion of terrorism and violent threat, which it boils down like this:
“We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we prohibit behaviour that crosses the line into abuse, including behaviour that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.”
That’s only a small part of the problem though - there’s still a lot of work to do though. Pull your finger out, Twitter. Don’t leave it up to the celebs to pressure you into sorting things - that should be top of the agenda regardless.