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Twitter puts verification fixes on hold as elections loom

It wants to curb fake news before it hands out more blue checkmarks.
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David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Twitter has spent the past several months trying to fix its verification mess, but it looks like you'll have to wait a while longer for a solution. New product lead Kayvon Beykpour has announced that Twitter is putting its verification reform efforts on hold to focus on "information quality" in the run-up to the US mid-term elections. The move is meant to help the social network "move faster" on areas it thinks are "most important," Beykpour said.

The company will come back to the verification issue once it makes "more progress," Beykpour added, referencing an email that hinted it might take a few weeks. He also acknowledge that the ad hoc verification in the meantime has produced "frustration" from people who already saw Twitter verification as a mysterious, inconsistent process.

The pause isn't going to satisfy those who just wanted Twitter to stop verifying neo-Nazis and others who promote hate and harassment. Even CEO Jack Dorsey has acknowledged that the system "needs a complete reboot." With that in mind, there's no doubt that Twitter has plenty on its plate when it comes to the elections. It's purging massive numbers of bots, grappling with breaking news hoaxes and otherwise trying to avoid the disinformation campaigns that plagued the 2016 presidential election. As important as verification may be, Twitter would risk a larger backlash if it didn't fight attempts by Russia and others to cause havoc.

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