UK Government Wants Twitter to Remove Blue Checks From Accounts That Don't Toe the Line

By Shabana Arif on at

Some grumpy old men in the government have failed to understand the role of social media, personal responsibility, and the government's own shady use of Twitter, and are demanding that verified accounts tweeting disinformation should have their little blue check marks removed as punishment.

The purpose of Twitter verification is so that everyone knows "an account of public interest is authentic." If you're a famous model, say, who's a vapid moron, the badge exists to simply let people know that it is indeed you. The stupid things you tweet are in no way given extra credence because of the check mark. That is not its purpose. The verified status can be removed for a handful of reasons (all of the obvious ones; harassment, disturbing imagery etc), including violating Twitter's rules, and Terms of Service. Currently, that list does not include you mouthing off about your unfounded, uneducated, not-very-well-thought-out ideas and beliefs, because if it did, no bugger would be allowed on the platform.

Seemingly missing the point completely, there's been a call for accounts "spreading fake news and disinformation" to lose their verified status.

If Twitter pulls a YouTube and changes it policy after bowing to social pressure, that's the company's prerogative, and if those offences are listed under reasons to lose verification, everyone's going to just have to lump it. But that doesn't mean it's a sensible decision. Mollycoddling social media users because you want them to live in a fantasy world where the only thing they see is just the truth is contributing to this problem of fake news to begin with. Critical thinking and a the tiniest bit of research i.e. having a Google, is all that's needed to see if something is a load of old bollocks or not, and just because it's coming out of the mouth of a celebrity, it shouldn't blindly be treated as gospel. God forbid people actually engage their brains or take responsibility for sharing links without the slightest measure of due diligence first.

The issue of the fake NHS accounts was raised to support the point, but last year's discovery that the Conservatives' Twitter account changed its username to mislead people (in direct violation of the rules for verifies accounts, and punishable by the removal of verified statues) wasn't brought up. Odd that.