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Twitter pulls 'blue check' for white nationalist Richard Spencer, others

By
Allen Cone
White nationalist Richard Spencer talks to the media during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. on February 23. Spencer has lost his official verification on Twitter. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
White nationalist Richard Spencer talks to the media during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. on February 23. Spencer has lost his official verification on Twitter. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Twitter has removed official verification status for Richard Spencer and other prominent white nationalists.

The social media platform explained the deletions of the blue check marks in a series of tweets Wednesday.

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"Verification has long been perceived as an endorsement," Twitter posted. "We gave verified accounts visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception. We should have addressed this earlier but did not prioritize the work as we should have.

"This perception became worse when we opened up verification for public submissions and verified people who we in no way endorse."

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According to Twitter's verification accounts section on its website, the "blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic. When an account is verified, additional settings become available."

Spencer wrote on his account that he's "verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly White?"

Spencer, who has 79,500 followers, called on Congress to regulate Silicon Valley tech companies.

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"Law-abiding citizens should have a right to use social networks, payment systems, and hosting, which make up the public square of the 21st century," he tweeted.

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Spencer's speeches at public universities have prompted security concerns. Some schools have refused to host him

Also losing blue-mark status was Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., that led to the death of one counter-protester after, police said, a rally attendee drove a car into a crowd.

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Kessler wrote on Twitter: "I don't engage in harassment. I simply stand up for white rights and criticize mass immigration policies. They're also supposed to give a warning & ask you to delete an offending tweet."

Far-right activist Laura Loomer, who lost her status, tweeted that the action equates to "a form of censorship. And censorship is the first step toward tyranny."

Twitter said it reserves the right to remove verification that "may reflect behaviors on and off Twitter."

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They include intentionally misleading people, promoting rate and/or violence, harassing others, acting violently and dangerously

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