James Allsup, 23, is among a handful of prominent nationalist and far-right conservative figures stripped of their verification in recent days week after the social media company faced an uproar for verifying the organizer of the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Twitter has removed the blue “verification” checkmark from the account of James Allsup, the Washington State University student who built a massive online following as an alt-right provocateur.
The checkmarks are a visual cue that Twitter gives to prominent accounts to help other users ensure they are authentic. Allsup, 23, is among a handful of prominent nationalist and far-right conservative figures who were stripped of their verification over the past week after the social media company faced an uproar for verifying the organizer of the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Others who lost their checkmarks include white nationalist Richard Spencer, far-right activist Laura Loomer, and Tommy Robinson, the host of a show on the fringe conservative site Rebel TV, The Washington Post reported. Tim Gionet, an alt-right figurehead who went by the name Baked Alaska, was suspended from the site.
Allsup has been a polarizing figure at WSU since he spearheaded a “Trump wall” demonstration on campus in October 2016. Now a senior, he co-hosts a podcast called the “Nationalist Review” and plans to launch a conservative media company. He has about 22,700 followers on Twitter.
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In his recently updated bio, Allsup says he was “targeted by @TwitterSupport.” And in a series of tweets and retweets, he suggested the company was trying to stifle his controversial views.
“Everything said by a blue check account is endorsed by Twitter according to their own policies,” he wrote. “Blue checks regularly tweet out hatred for conservatives, Christians, and whites. Twitter endorses anti-white, anti-conservative hate.”
Yair Rosenberg, a writer for the Jewish publication Tablet Magazine, also suggested the company’s move would backfire. He tweeted: “Whoever advised Twitter to turn verification into an approbation of views rather than a confirmation of identity did not think this through. Now Twitter can be held accountable for every controversial thing said by a blue checkmark.”
Asked for further comment in a Twitter message, Allsup quoted a line from John Stuart Mill’s 1859 essay “On Liberty.”
“We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”