Twitter crackdown sparks free speech concerns

Twitter’s verification program put the company at the center of another political headache this week, with the social media giant stuck between liberals who demand stricter rules about hate speech and misinformation and conservatives who fear the site will target them for their political views.

Twitter’s “blue checkmark” verification program is meant to authenticate the identities of high-profile users. But it’s also come to be seen as an endorsement or mark of approval from Twitter, sparking outrage when the checkmarks were bestowed on white nationalists like Richard Spencer or Charlottesville, Va. “Unite the Right” organizer Jason Kessler.

The social media site responded to the criticism Wednesday by taking checkmarks away from several users affiliated with the far right or white nationalism, as well as kicking one prominent Charlottesville marcher off the platform permanently.

Further changes are expected next week, when Twitter says it will implement more rules. Twitter declined to comment on the changes.

While liberals cheered the crackdown, conservatives worried that they’ll be punished next. Describing the crackdown, a Breitbart headline declared that “conservative figures” had been “purged.”

 

 

source/read more:http://thehill.com/policy/technology/360806-twitter-crackdown-sparks-free-speech-concerns

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