So much sturm und drang over a little blue check…
Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart tech editor who rode #GamerGate to Internet fame, recently lost the little blue check that formerly accompanied his name on Twitter.
According to Business Insider,
The tick is a verification badge, which signifies that Twitter has proven the identity of the person holding the account. It is a valued symbol for people who use Twitter a lot and who are afraid they might be impersonated by bogus Twitter accounts.
In other words, it is a way for celebrities and other public figures to partner with Twitter in order to use the platform for promotional purposes at a minimum risk to their reputations. The celebrities get a little bit of insurance against impostors and Twitter gets high-profile users that drive a lot of traffic.
So what does it mean for a user to be unverified, to lose their blue check mark and return to the unwashed masses of regular Twitter users?
If you said “it means that Twitter took away his freedom of speech” then you are wrong. But you have lots of company.
You see, private companies don’t have the power to restrict free speech. They can’t come into your home and arrest you for violating their terms of service. But they can choose not to do business with you on their own platform.* They can decide that the boost in traffic that they are getting from their partnership with you is not worth the potential loss of users you alienate.
For example, you might drive away other uses by posting something like this (the offending Tweet thought to have drawn the censure from Twitter):
In fact, Twitter’s CEO recently acknowledged that toxicity and abuse on the platform is driving away users and threatening their brand.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is taking personal responsibility for his platform’s chronic problems with harassment and abuse, telling employees that he is embarrassed for the company’s failures and would soon be taking stronger action to eliminate trolls. He said problems with trolls are driving away the company’s users. “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo wrote in an internal memo obtained by The Verge. “It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”
So free market libertarians should be applauding Twitter’s decision to make decisions about its promotions and features as it sees fit.
i wonder why they are being so inconsistent when it comes to one of their own………
*And really, creating a hashtag about losing a blue check mark on Twitter modeled on #jesuischarlie is just class all the way.