Crusader against critical race theory Christopher Rufo loses Twitter blue checkmark ‘after reporting on CRT in Big Tech’
Twitter has stripped the blue checkmark from Christopher Rufo, a prominent critic of the controversial “critical race theory.” Supporters see it as the latest Big Tech attack on conservative voices online.
Twitter “disappeared my verification badge,” Rufo told his 220,000 followers on the platform, joking that he had “inserted my pronouns into my bio in hope of having it restored.” His profile was marked by the blue checkmark until a few days ago.
He also posted several screenshots, including a Twitter notification saying his account had been verified “incorrectly,” and an alert from Google, seemingly informing him his Gmail account was being targeted by a “government-backed attack.” It remained unclear if the two were connected in any way.
Receipts: pic.twitter.com/r8ZrF8mqHq— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 8, 2021
Rufo is a conservative filmmaker and media pundit who has risen in prominence in the past couple of years due to his crusade against critical race theory (CRT). The controversial approach seeks to explain racism in the US as an entrenched trait of American society that needs to be eradicated. Critics believe CRT to be a dangerous political ideology that is being thrust upon Americans by malign actors through events such as corporate diversity and equity training.
The latest report on CRT by Rufo targeted Google, based on materials he said were leaked to him by a whistleblower from the tech giant. Among the purported equity teaching aids he shared on Twitter was a “white supremacy pyramid,” with the “indifference” of apolitical people and the views of conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro labeled at its foundation and white mass murderers at its zenith.
Another graphic, titled "The White Supremacy Pyramid," advances the idea that conservative commentator Ben Shapiro is a foundation of "white supremacy" and that Donald Trump is moving society on a path toward "mass murder" and "genocide." pic.twitter.com/9s81yC1Cxd— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) September 8, 2021
Twitter’s verification policy says the blue checkmark is meant to inform readers that “an account of public interest is authentic,” though many treat it as a sign of credibility. Getting one requires proof of a handle that is “authentic, notable, and active” – three criteria Rufo’s account seems to meet. The status can be revoked for repeated rule-breaking such as hateful conduct, glorification of violence, or spam, none of which Rufo said apply to him.
However, ‘deverification’ can happen with no immediately apparent justification. Last month, the much-loved celebrity actor Danny DeVito lost his blue checkmark on Twitter, albeit for a short time. Many people believed the penalty had been applied by an algorithm triggered by DeVito’s support of a workers’ strike at snack manufacturer Nabisco.
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Rufo’s supporters responded to the news with expressions of support for him and plenty of jokes about the development. “If you strike my blue check down, I shall become more powerful than you can ever possibly imagine,” one response read, alluding to Obi-Wan Kenobi’s parting words to his killer, Darth Vader, in ‘Star Wars IV’.
Others took a more somber tone, criticizing Twitter for what they saw as an attempt to discredit a conservative voice. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who advocates virtually unbridled freedom of speech, remarked that the service adopted the same approach to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange when it refused to verify his newly created account.
Assange joined Twitter in 2017, when he sought sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid arrest and potential extradition to the US. At the time, many Western media outlets gloated about the social network’s snub.
We've been trying to verify this account since early October.— Defend Assange Campaign (@DefendAssange) March 14, 2017
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