Twitter has a white supremacist problem

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    Twitter has a white supremacist problem

    Twitter has a white supremacist problem. On Tuesday, Twitter gave its preferred status, a verified blue checkmark, to Jason Kessler, the creator of the white supremacist Charlottesville rally that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer and the brutal beating of DeAndre Harris at the hand of white supremacists.

    The blue checkmark of Twitter verification matters. Verified users’ tweets and profiles surface higher in searches allowing their messages to be spread faster and reach more people. By verifying Jason Kessler’s account, Twitter is directly enabling white supremacy and white nationalist ideology on its platform.

    This comes less than a month after Twitter’s latest promise to weed out the promotion of hate and violence through the implementation of its “Trust and Safety Council.” The Trust and Safety Council reviews and gives feedback on Twitter’s policies, but has not been transparent about who is on this council and if anyone in the community has a seat at that table. Twitter can start to make good on its promise to fight hate by kicking Jason Kessler off the platform and adding marginalized voices to the Trust and Safety Council.

    To Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter:

    Here is the Petition:
    Twitter provides a platform for people all over the world to express themselves and connect with like-minded communities. In times of crisis, it can be a lifeline for those in peril. In times of turmoil and unrest, it can provide an unfiltered and accessible communication network for those fighting for freedom. But the potential and power of the platform is undermined when Twitter allows white supremacist and white nationalists the opportunity to spread their violent ideologies. And it is further undermined when Twitter verifies the accounts of hate leaders. 

    The violence Jason Kessler helped to create in Charlottesville shows the devastating impacts of allowing white supremacists and white nationalists to elevate their hateful and often violent messages. By verifying Jason Kessler’s account, Twitter is enabling white supremacy and white nationalist ideology on its platform.

    Twitter needs to take immediate action to address this problem. Twitter can start to make good on its promise to fight hate by kicking Jason Kessler off the platform; act transparently by letting the public know more about the Trust and Safety Council; and adding marginalized voices and voices from the community at-large to the Trust and Safety Council.