July 15, 2024

“People in this #BlockTheBlue pressure campaign are losers and goons,” – Tim Sweeney

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CARY – Tim Sweeney, the outspoken majority owner of privately held Epic Games and the second richest billionaire in North Carolina behind SAS owner Jim Goodnight, loves his Twitter feed and over the past decade has built a following of more than 224,000. He tweets about all things Epic, technology trends, and a lot of hot threads. So when he goes on a rant as he did over the weekend about Twitter’s checkmarks and verification a lot of people checked his tweets.

After all, he’s never been reluctant to tweet what he really thinks – a point he reiterated after a weekend rant about Twitter and verification – something he has praised.

Target of his ire: Twitter’s verification process and in particular #BlockTheBlue, a movement as Marshable describes, to block “any user still with a blue checkmark which signifies they are paying [Elon] Musk for it.”

“People in this #BlockTheBlue pressure campaign are losers and goons,” Sweeney tweeted to open his rant. “They’re the cool kids from junior high who worked to exclude we nerds from cool kid events, plus the losers who joined in to gain cred. The elite-only verification system sucked, been criticizing it since 2018.”

Why’s he really upset?

Earlier this month, Sweeney praised Twitter’s verification changes “claiming the social media site’s old  system was ‘weird,’” reported NME.com.

Twitter drops some media labels, begins stripping verification labels

‘Doling out favors’

He then reposted this tweet from February 2020:

“I don’t want to be verified unless the verification process is opened up to everyone on equal terms. Right now it’s a system for doling our favors to friends of Twitter and for using revocation to punish people Twitter doesn’t like.”

After buying Twitter, Musk threatened then implemented a plan requiring verification accounts to be paid for at $8 a month. Celebrities such as Stephen King have blasted the idea. He’s also targeted various groups such as National Public Radio and the BBC. But his war with the media is beyond the scope of Sweeney’s posts.

Sweeney – a billionaire several times over – isn’t worried about the eight bucks. He’s upset about the substitution of a “meritocracy” for a system of identification that broke down to become what he calls a “perk.”

“An online community like this should be a meritocracy, where everyone has an equal chance, and merit is earned rather than anointed by a corporation.” he wrote. “Old school Twitter had found a great expression of merit with following & retweeting. The best rose to the top.

“Then someone well-meaningly built a system for preventing impersonation through verification. But they broke the meritocracy with a policy deeming verification only for elite ‘noteworthy’ users, while letting Twitter employees hand out verification to their friends as a perk.

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‘Clicked a few buttons’

“This was followed by waves of Twitter employees realizing they’d been granted a social commodity (or income stream for the crooked) and started handing out blue checks in exchange for favors or IOUs. At peak, friends of friends of Twitter employees were brokering verification.

“Key point is, this had NOTHING to do with verifying identity documents to prevent impersonation. They didn’t do that. Twitter employees just clicked a few buttons and you were verified.”

Other issues worry Twitter followers and users, such as “deadnaming” and LGBTQ. But the Sweeney comments drew attention from a much smaller Twitter team (another piece of fallout from Musk’s takeover.)

Twitter reacts

Twitter inserted a second point in Sweeney’s thread about “favors:”

“Readers added context they thought people might want to know

“The Legacy Verification system or “Blue Check” required users to provide identity verification in order to receive it. This verification could take the form of government ID, official website that states your Twitter handle, or an official email with confirmed domain name: help.twitter.com/en/managing-yo…

“Context is written by people who use Twitter, and appears when rated helpful by others. Find out more.”

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Back and forth

But Sweeney wasn’t finished.

“And there’s Twitter’s old unwritten practice of using verification to condition user speech, for example un-verifying Louis Farakhan as punishment for his words. I strongly disagree with Louis Farakhan’s views, but I’m quite sure his identity verification was never in question.”

Twitter tweets again

Noted Twitter:

“Readers added context they thought people might want to know

“There was not an “unwritten practice”, of conditional speech. One of the specific requirements for Legacy Verification “Blue Check” is good standing: “Your account must not have had a 12-hour or 7-day lockout for violating the Twitter Rules…” With some exceptions: help.twitter.com/en/managing-yo…

“Context is written by people who use Twitter, and appears when rated helpful by others. Find out more.”

So what’s next?

For Sweeney, it’s back to non-Twitter focused tweets.

“Twitter ProTip: Spring clean your followers list by saying what you really think!”

And later:

“Dunkin Donuts really does have great coffee BTW.”

 

The post Epic’s Tim Sweeney blasts ‘losers and goons’ who campaign against new Twitter verification first appeared on WRAL TechWire.

Epic’s Tim Sweeney blasts ‘losers and goons’ who campaign against new Twitter verification first appeared on Web and IT News.

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