Breaking News Emails
Richard Spencer and other prominent white nationalists have lost their official verifications on Twitter — meaning the blue check marks next to their names are gone.
In a series of tweets Wednesday afternoon, the social media platform explained that being verified has "long been perceived as an endorsement" and that verified accounts were allowed "visual prominence on the service which deepened this perception."
The special badge is afforded to celebrities, athletes, politicians and other public figures, so that users can know their accounts are genuine.
But as Twitter looks to update its verification program, the company said it is removing check marks from accounts that don't "fall within these new guidelines." Twitter said it will remove verification at any time for several reasons, including promoting hate or violence, attacking or threatening people based on their race, sexual orientation, gender and religious affiliation, and engaging in harassment.
After the announcement, Spencer noted on his account, which has more than 79,000 followers, that he's "verified no more! Is it not okay to be proudly White?"
Spencer has brought his provocative message of white nationalism to public universities in recent months, prompting security concerns and even Florida officials to declare a state of emergency over fears of civil unrest.
Far-right activist Laura Loomer also lost her verification status, tweeting that the action equates to "a form of censorship. And censorship is the first step toward tyranny."
Jason Kessler, the organizer of the far-right Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, tweeted a message from Twitter telling him his verification status was scrubbed.
Twitter received backlash last week for giving Kessler, who describes himself as a freelance journalist, a blue check mark in the first place. He told his more than 14,000 followers at the time that "I must be the only working class white advocate with that distinction."
But the following day, the verification was gone.
Kessler was in the national spotlight in August, when during the Charlottesville rally, a 32-year-old civil rights activist was killed. Kessler's account tweeted insults about the activist following her death.
Kessler tweeted Wednesday that he's unsure why Twitter thinks he violated its policy: "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."
The account of another conservative and pro-Trump activist, Tim Gionet, who is more widely known as Baked Alaska, appeared to be suspended. Gionet attended the Charlottesville rally as well.
In response to his loss of Twitter verification, Spencer called on Washington to regulate Silicon Valley.
"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.