Verified blue checkmark fiasco: Twitter wants to police your thoughts

In the past few days, Twitter has been working hard to show its bias by selectively removing the “verified” blue checkmarks it initially assigned to users deemed to be authentic and not impostors.

Being verified theoretically needs to meet a single simple, objective criterion: be the person you claim to be.

However, it is obvious Twitter never intended the blue checkmark to be that way. The contradiction is plainly written on their support page:

The blue verified badge  on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.

Then in the section titled “Loss of verified status”:

Twitter reserves the right to remove verification at any time without notice.

Reasons for removal may reflect behaviors on and off Twitter that include:

  • Intentionally misleading people on Twitter by changing one’s display name or bio.
  • Promoting hate and/or violence against, or directly attacking or threatening other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. Supporting organizations or individuals that promote the above.
  • Inciting or engaging in harassment of others.
  • Violence and dangerous behavior

What should be a purely objective process for both adding and removing the verified checkmark is instead  a purely subjective process. As with Facebook “fake news” censorship, the intent of the blue checkmark is be their own persuasive tool — by removing a verified status, Twitter is suggesting readers should not pay attention to what they have to say, based on Twitter’s opinion of them. They can dress their reasons with “hate speech” or whatnot, but since that judgment is also completely subjective, it is obvious that Twitter is using the checkmarks for endorsement and not for authentication purposes.

With a biased trending algorithm, biased comment threading order, censored media in posts, and the selective verification checkmark process, Twitter clearly has no intent in maintaining open dialogue. It fully intends to control the narrative it wants to push on its users, since a truly open platform that encourages free speech would want an uninterrupted market of ideas so that the truth can be naturally reasoned.

Even if an individual is spouting supposed “hate” or “dangerous” ideas, it should be apparent that they should not be censored. If censored, these ideas become repressed and we no longer know the individuals’ true behavior. We no longer know what ideas exist out there that should be fought with rational debate. If we always avoid opposing opinions, we ignore many paths towards an ideal solution.

Social media’s cultivation of group-think has always been a serious problem, but now recent moves by the social media companies are making the problem more serious. By pushing aside opinions they don’t agree with, they are isolating the like-minded groups further. Unless social media is abandoned altogether, it doesn’t help if half of the Twitter population leaves the platform only for the remainder to brainwash themselves in an even stronger, closed-off echo chamber, making them less and less receptive to opposing opinions.

When repressed opinions brew to the point that they cannot tolerate dissenting opinions, real violence is just on the horizon.

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