- Twitter issued verifications to a number of large-scale gamers and streamers on Wednesday, including Corpse Husband, whose content has recently seen a massive surge in popularity because of his Among Us plays.
- Still, it left out many other figures, such as Dream and CallMeCarson, who have millions of followers each.
- In a notable blunder, Twitter also accidentally verified the wrong Karl Jacobs. The correct Karl Jacobs, a Twitch streamer with nearly 800,000 followers, was later given verification. Until Thursday afternoon, the incorrect Jacobs retained verification.
- The confusion over this wave of verifications follows Twitter’s recent pledge to relaunch applications for verifications after pausing the program in 2017 when it verified a white supremacist.
Twitter Verifies the Wrong Account
On Wednesday, Twitter verified Twitch streamer Karl Jacobs, who has nearly 800,000 followers on the platform and has frequently appeared in videos with mega-creator Mr.Beast. Or rather, Twitter tried to verify him.
It actually ended up verifying a different Karl Jacobs, the owner of a seemingly random account that only had about 200 followers at the time.
“THEY VERIFIED THE WRONG KARL JACOBS,” streamer Karl Jacobs said in a tweet that was soon followed up by a response from Mr.Beast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson.
“LMAO THATS THE FUNNIEST THING IVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE,” Donaldson said.
About 30 minutes later, Jacobs confirmed that Twitter had partially corrected its mistake and verified his account by giving it a blue checkmark. Twitter did not fully rectify their mistake until Thursday afternoon when it finally removed the verification for the account for the random Karl Jacobs.
Jacob’s verification was part of a mass verification of gamers and other streamers on Wednesday. While the platform gave blue checkmarks to a number of top creators (such as fast-growing creator Corpse Husband), it also seemingly skipped over several other major creators with millions of followers each.
Some fans were upset that streamers such as Sykkuno, who has 1.8 million followers on Twitch and almost 750,000 of Twitter, appeared to be ignored in the wave of verifications. They argued that he should already meet Twitter’s standards for being verified, as he’s an account of “public interest.”
Both Corpse Husband and Twitch Streamer Valkyrae also expressed disappointment that Sykkuno wasn’t included.
Other notable creators left out of the fold included CallMeCarson and Dream. On Twitter, both joked about the situation.
CallMeCarson, whose real name is Carson King, currently has over 3 million followers on YouTube. Dream, whose real identity is anonymous, has over 13 million followers. His Minecraft plays on YouTube average tens of millions of views with each upload.
Twitter’s Verification Problem
In 2017, Twitter paused its application-based verification system after it faced backlash for verifying a white supremacist and reported neo-Nazi who had organized the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. During that rally, counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed after a vehicle rammed into her.
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance,” the Twitter Support account said following backlash. “We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon.”
In a quote tweet, CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that “the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered.”
In 2018, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour said the company was shifting focus from updating that verification process to election integrity.
During that announcement, he also addressed confusion that had arisen because, despite the pause of Twitter’s public verification system, some accounts were still actively receiving blue checkmarks.
“Despite that goal,” he said, “we still verify accounts ad hoc when we think it serves the public conversation & is in line with our policy. But this has led to frustration b/c our process remains opaque & inconsistent with our [intended] pause. This is far from ideal & we still intend to fix.”
That likely explains Wednesday’s set of verifications, as well as verifications earlier this year for a number of public health officials who have authority to speak on the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Will Public Verification Come Back?
Despite that application process being missing for three years now, public verification is still expected to come back. In fact, last week, Twitter announced that it expects to re-introduce the feature early next year.
In a draft policy, it said eligible accounts include government entities, companies, brands, nonprofits, news media accounts, activists, and organizers. The list also includes businesses and individuals in entertainment and sports, as well as a more general category listed as “other influential individuals.”
Beykpour added that the company’s “goal is to bring clarity to what verification on Twitter means, the criteria we’ll use for assessing verification, and how to apply.”
Indeed, the draft policy lays out some very specific rules for how to get that oh-so-coveted blue checkmark. For example, one avenue for an actor to receive verification includes obtaining at least five production credits on their IMDB profile.
Qualifying media outlets must also adhere to standards set forth by multiple organizations focusing on ethics in journalism.
Twitter said it will refuse to hand out verifications to any accounts that “have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules in the past six months.”
“You may lose your badge if you change your account name (@handle), if your account becomes inactive or incomplete, or if you are no longer in the position you initially were verified for—such as an elected government official who leaves office—and you do not otherwise meet our criteria for verification,” the draft says.
That clause could potentially leave the door open for Twitter to remove President Donald Trump’s verification once he leaves the White House in January. Since May, Twitter has placed warning labels on a bevy of Trump’s tweets. That fact-checking process ramped up in November as Trump made false claims about election fraud in dozens of tweets.
If Trump continues to tweet false information after his presidency, Twitter may be forced to address that question. In either event that Twitter removes his verification or gives him a special exemption, the company will undoubtedly face criticism.
Twitter said it will publish a finalized version of this policy on Dec. 17, but at least one major question remains: If Twitter has worked for three years to make its verification process transparent, will users have confidence in the platform if it continues to accidentally give verifications — a symbol of authority — to random accounts?
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Says Trump Ban Was the “Right Decision” But Sets “Dangerous” Precedent
- While defending Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, CEO Jack Dorsey noted the “dangerous” precedent such a move set.
- “Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation,” Dorsey said in a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday. “They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning.”
- Dorsey’s message came the same day Twitter fully reinstated Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Co.) account, hours after locking it for violating Twitter rules. A Twitter spokesperson later described the lock as an “incorrect enforcement action.”
Dorsey Describes Trump Ban as a Double-Edged Sword
In a lengthy Twitter thread published Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey defended his platform’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, while also noting the “dangerous” precedent such a unilateral move sets.
Twitter made the decision to ban Trump on Jan. 8, two days after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol complex in an assault that left multiple dead.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban [Trump] from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said in the first of 13 tweets.
Nonetheless, Dorsey described Trump’s ban as “the right decision for Twitter.”
“Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he added.
“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey continued.
“[It] sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
Dorsey described most bans as a failure of Twitter to “promote healthy conversation,” though he noted that exceptions to such a mindset also exist. Among other failures, Dorsey said extreme actions like a ban can “fragment public conversation,” divide people, and limit “clarification, redemption, and learning.”
Dorsey: Trump Bans Were Not Coordinated
Dorsey continued his thread by addressing claims and criticism that Trump’s ban on Twitter violated free speech.
“A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same,” he said.
Indeed, multiple legal experts have stated that Trump’s ban on social media does not amount to First Amendment violations, as the First Amendment only addresses government censorship.
“If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service,” Dorsey added. However, Dorsey noted that such a concept has been challenged over the past week.
This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet. A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same.— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
Trump has now been banned or suspended from a number of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced plans to terminate Trump’s account in the “interest of public safety.” Previously, Snapchat had only suspended his account, but as of Jan. 20, it will be permanently banned.
Addressing criticism of the swift bans handed down by these platforms in the wake of the Capitol attack, Dorsey said he doesn’t believe Trump’s bans on social media were coordinated.
“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” he said.
Twitter Reverses Course of Locking Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Account
Dorsey’s thread regarding the fragile nature of regulating users’ privileges on the platform seemed to play out earlier the same day.
On Wednesday, newly-elected Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) posted a screenshot to Instagram showing that her Twitter account had been locked for six days. The screenshot stated that she had violated Twitter’s rules and would be unable to tweet, retweet, or like until her account was unlocked.
Hours later, Twitter reversed course and fully reinstated her account.
“In this instance, our teams took the incorrect enforcement action. The Tweet in question is now labeled in accordance with our Civic Integrity Policy. The Tweet will not be required to be removed and the account will not be temporarily locked,” a spokesperson for the platform told Insider.
It is unknown what tweet caused that initial ban, as Twitter refused to say.
The latest tweet from Boebert’s account to be tagged with a fact check warning is from Sunday. In that tweet, she baselessly and falsely accuses the DNC of rigging the 2020 Election, a claim that largely inspired the Capitol attacks.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (Associated Press)
Uber and Lyft Drivers Sue To Overturn California’s Prop 22
- A group of Uber and Lyft drivers filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California’s controversial Prop 22, a ballot measure that was approved by nearly 59% of state voters in the 2020 election.
- While Prop 22 does promise drivers wage guarantees and health insurance stipends, it also eliminated some protections as well as benefits like sick pay and workers’ compensation.
- In their lawsuit, the drivers argue that Prop 22 “illegally” prevents them from being able to access the state’s workers’ compensation program.
What’s in the Lawsuit?
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a group of Uber and Lyft drivers asked California’s Supreme Court to overturn the state’s controversial Prop 22 ballot measure.
The drivers behind the lawsuit, along with Service Employees International Union, allege that Prop 22 “illegally” bars them from being able to participate in the state’s workers’ compensation program.
Additionally, they argue that the measure violates California’s constitution by“stripping” the state legislature of its ability to protect who unionize.
“Every day, rideshare drivers like me struggle to make ends meet because companies like Uber and Lyft prioritize corporate profits over our wellbeing,” Plaintiff Saori Okawa said in a statement.
Conversely, Uber driver and Prop 22 activist Jim Pyatt denounced the lawsuit, saying,“Voters across the political spectrum spoke loud and clear, passing Prop 22 in a landslide. Meritless lawsuits that seek to undermine the clear democratic will of the people do not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.”
California ballot measures have been occasionally repealed in the past; however, most of the time, they’ve only been repealed following subsequent ballot measures. If this lawsuit fails, such an initiative would likely be the last option for overturning Prop 22.
What is Prop 22?
Prop 22, which was approved by 59% of state voters in the 2020 Election, exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from having to classify their drivers as employees. Rather, those drivers are listed as “independent contractors,” also known as gig workers.
Notably, Prop 22 was supported by major industry players like DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, and Instacart, which launched a massive $200 million lobbying and advertising campaign.
While those companies did promise wage guarantees and health insurance stipends for drivers, Prop 22 also eliminated a number of protections and benefits drivers would have seen under an “employee” status, including sick pay and workers’ compensation.
Because of that, many opponents have argued that the measure incentivizes companies to lay off their employees in favor of cheaper labor options.
Last week, it was reported that grocery stores like Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions began laying off their delivery workers in favor of switching to ”third-party logistics providers.” According to Albertson’s, unionized delivery workers were not included in the layoffs.
In recent coverage from KPBS, one San Diego Vons delivery worker detailed a situation in which he and delivery workers were called into a meeting with management.
“I thought they were going to give us a bonus or a raise or something like that,” he said.
Ultimately, that employee was told he would be losing his job in late February, even though he had been with the company for two-and-a-half years.
“I didn’t want to tell them,” the employee said of his parents, one of whom is disabled. “I’m the breadwinner for the family.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (The Washington Post) (CNN)
Daniel Silva Blames Cory La Barrie for His Own Death in New Legal Filing
- Popular Tattoo artist Daniel Silva said the death of YouTuber Cory La Barrie was due to La Barrie’s “own negligence,” in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from his family.
- La Barrie died last May after Silva lost control of the sports car they were in, crashing into a street sign and tree.
- La Barrie’s family has accused Silva of negligence, saying his excessive speeding caused the crash. They also claim he was under the influence, though he was never formally charged with a DUI.
- According to TMZ, Silva filed documents saying La Barrie “assumed the risk of death when he jumped into Daniel’s car that fateful night back in May.”
Corey La Barrie’s Death
Popular tattoo artist Daniel Silva has blamed YouTuber Corey La Barrie for his own death in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from La Barrie’s family, according to TMZ.
The tabloid says he filed legal documents saying, “the car crash that led to Corey’s death was due to his own negligence, and he assumed the risk of death when he jumped into Daniel’s car that fateful night back in May.”
La Barrie died on May 10, his 25th birthday, after Silva was speeding and lost control of the sports car they were in, crashing into a street sign and tree.
Police say Silva tried to leave the scene but was stopped by witnesses. He was later arrested and charged with murder. Silva eventually reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
In August, Silva was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with credit for 216 days served because of California sentencing guidelines, even though it had only been 108 days since the crash at the time.
He also earned five years of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a suspended prison sentence of four years, which would be imposed if he violates the terms of his probation.
Wrongful Death Suit
Silva still faces the family’s lawsuit, which they filed the same month their son died.
In it, La Barrie’s family has accused Silva of negligence, saying his excessive speeding caused the crash. They also claim he was driving under the influence.
It’s worth noting that people close to Silva have disputed that claim and he was never charged with a DUI. However, the first police statement about the crash labeled it a “DUI Fatal Traffic Collision.” Witnesses have said the two were partying earlier that night, though