The Guardian view on Twitter’s blue ticks: a conflict of interest | Editorial

Social media companies must accept that their duties to democracy rival their commercial incentives

In the early days of the digital revolution, it seemed the old hierarchies might be eliminated. The lone blogger could challenge the media giant. The idealism did not last long. Old corporates learned how to exploit the new market; new tech companies acquired huge empires, with their own hierarchies. People with more “friends” and “followers” have more impact. More significantly, the people who run Facebook and Twitter wield phenomenal and mostly invisible power over their realms.

Sometimes, the new digital overlords are forced out of the shadows. So it was this week when Twitter rescinded “blue tick” verification from accounts belonging to far-right activists, including Jason Kessler, a US white supremacist, and Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League. Those who have been “de-verified” complain that Twitter is subjecting them to political discrimination. Twitter says that verification, designed to show that high-profile accounts belonged to the named owner and not impostors, had come to be interpreted as approval. The company didn’t want to be seen giving that kudos to hate-mongers.

Continue reading…

For more details, click on: The Guardian view on Twitter’s blue ticks: a conflict of interest | Editorial