Twitter freezes 'blue tick' verifications amid controversy

9 November 2017, 16:50

Twitter has put a temporary hold on its general verifications following complaints about its 'blue ticks' lending gravitas to controversial figures.

Verified accounts on Twitter receive a blue tick next to their name, establishing that the user is who they claim to be.

In an extra-long tweet meeting the social media platform's new 280-character limit, Twitter's support account explained the move.

"Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance," the company said.

"We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon," the account added.

A statement by Jack Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder and chief executive, said: "We should've communicated faster on this (yesterday)".

"Our agents have been following our verification policy correctly, but we realized some time ago the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered. And we failed by not doing anything about it. Working now to fix faster."

The move comes after outcry over Twitter verifying the account of alt-right activist Jason Kessler, who organised the rally attended by white supremacists in Charlottesville in August.

Increased focus on the responsibilities of the social media platform follow proposals by the British government to potentially tax social media sites to pay for action to tackle online bullying.

Twitter's shares jumped last week when it said it could be on course to turn its first ever quarterly profit.