On Thursday morning, two days after Kessler got his verification, Dorsey responded to the criticism on Twitter, saying that the company's verification program is "broken and needs to be reconsidered".
"Verification was meant to authenticate identity and voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance", the company tweeted on Thursday.
Typically, the blue check means that an account "of public interest is authentic" - but the company has withheld it from other high-profile accounts in the past, like with Julian Assange. How exactly Twitter plans to clear up the confusion it created around verification remains to be seen. Last month, it suspended the account of political consultant Roger Stone, a vocal supporter of President Trump, for a series of expletive-filled tweets aimed at political figures and journalists.
Twitter's controversial decision to verify Kessler comes less than a week after it updated its rules to offer users more visibility into its unpredictable decision-making process. Kessler, in fact, tweeted that Heyer was "fat disgusting Communist". "We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon". Adding a badge to a profile does differentiate a user and can be viewed as giving more credibility to an account simply because it has gone through a review process.
That's because Mr. Kessler is a well-known white supremacist who has used Twitter to spread his message and organize rallies like Unite the Right's march in Charlottesville, Va., where torch wielding protesters marched through the streets chanting racist rallying cries.
But, as Twitter, notes, "a verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter". The company recently testified to Congress, revealing that more than 36,000 Russian-linked accounts generated about 1.4 million automated, election-related Tweets. "Looks like it was payback time". Kessler's own Twitter account isn't lacking in exactly the terrible behavior Twitter claims to be trying to stamp out, which puts his verification seemingly at odds with the company's past actions.