There has been a story that I have seen doing the rounds on Twitter over the last few days. Several prominent right-wing figures have been losing their endorsement, or "blue tick", on Twitter. Some of these figures to have been "dethroned" so to speak include Jason Kessler, who organised the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia which was the scene of such terrible violence which saw a 32-year-old woman tragically killed. Jason Kessler describes himself in his bio as a freelance writer and has over 14,000 followers. Other notable names include prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, who has over 79,000 followers and also Tommy Robinson, the founder of the EDL (English Defence League) and a well-known critic of radical Islam.

Tommy Robinson is the author of a best selling book, has his own show on Rebel media and has a massive 834,000 followers.

Twitter delegitimising people over their political views

A person like Richard Spencer, who is a self-described white nationalist holds views that many of us, myself included, find distasteful. The other figures involved in this "scandal" like Tommy Robinson is also one of those people that is not without his many critics. According to Twitter, the new guidelines says that blue ticks can be removed if the person "promotes hate," or harasses or threatens people according to "race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation," and so on.

Now, some of these people involved in this debacle do hold views in relation to these topics which many of us find unpalatable.

Richard Spencer, for example, holds the view that white people should have their own homeland. I don't believe in segregation, many of those that came before us fought to eradicate the practice of segregation and it is something that I would not like to see in my lifetime. So, I disagree with Richard Spencer's views.

But there is a glaring hypocrisy I find here when analysing this case.

There are those on the right that hold views that would not correspond to most of us, but that is also true of the left. Linda Sarsour, who is an American political activist of Palestinian origin has divided much opinion when it comes to some of her views on Jews. Linda Sarsour is viewed by many as holding views which are "anti-Semitic." She still remains a verified user of Twitter.

A Twitter user called Jesse NYC, who describes herself as a Sociologist, an author and editor of five books and an expert on race, recently posted a tweet which read "So where is the critique of the white nuclear family, a conservative institution that undermines feminism?" Lots of people post controversial things on Twitter every day, but the reason why I highlight this particular person is that Jesse NYC is herself a verified Twitter user. Is the tweet that Jesse NYC wrote about the "white nuclear family" promoting intolerance of people based on their race? Jesse NYC is still currently verified by Twitter.

Not my worldview

This situation has posed a question to me. Whose views do we decide that we want to give credence to?

I personally would not validate the views of Richard Spencer, Linda Sarsour or Jesse NYC. They do not correspond with my worldview. Verification was always seen to be associated with prominent public figures. All of these people mentioned are widely recognised people for their political views. Tommy Robinson has 834,000 followers on Twitter, (more than many celebrities) has sold a best selling book and has his own TV show on the Rebel Media. Linda Sarsour was widely publicised as participating in the Women's March in January 2017 and Richard Spencer recently appeared in a Channel 4 documentary, all of these figures are worthy of verified status on those grounds.

So, concluding this opinion piece, I have to take a double standard from what I have seen regarding the removal of verification from some of these Twitter users.

As I have mentioned several times there are views that I do not agree with which are held by some of the people that have been caught up in this, but there is also a large number of people on the left that hold views that are downright hateful, and can easily fall into the category of the guidelines set by Twitter. If these people that are on the left do not have their verification taken away there is only one conclusion I can draw. That is Twitter is delegitimising people because they do not like their political views, and if that is the case, that should be a concern for us all.