In the Age of Rogue Accounts, Does Twitter Verification Still Mean Anything?
After the US government attempted to gag scientists who dissented from its official position, many of them went “rogue” on Twitter.
What does Twitter’s blue tick of approval mean in a post-truth age? The coveted check signals a verified, official Twitter account, but in a media environment where the left is distrusting of “official” government decrees, the right is distrusting of “official” legacy media, and the most revealing information comes from clandestine sources and high-level leaks, verification no longer holds the same weight it once did.
We can no longer rely on third-party appraisal — whether it’s the government, news publications, or social media — to authenticate information for us. Instead, we must seed our own skepticism and verify our suspicions independent of a single source.
This is no more true than on Twitter. The rulebook that governs the relationship between the press and the US government has been casually tossed out, and for better or worse, the US president himself favors using Twitter to bypass the “unkind” press and speak directly to the public. So there was a poetic irony when Donald Trump’s administration issued blanket gag orders on US government agencies, and many of them turned to Twitter to keep their voices from being silenced. From NASA to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there’s an ever-growing list of so-called “rogue” handles run by agency insiders. These accounts are gathering millions of followers and are helping to galvanize a growing resistance movement.
Originally published at Alice Bonasio.