Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

An internal email exchange between Twitter executives, obtained by Buzzfeed, over whether to unverify a Twitter troll suggests that even the company's leaders don't understand how to interpret their vague verification and harassment rules.

Why it matters: The emails provide an inside look into Twitter's battle to police abuse on its platform, and show how the dysfunction with its policy starts at the top. Meanwhile, abuse on Twitter is growing in intensity and size, and the network will have to either create more clarity and find new ways stop harassment, or risk losing its credibility.

The emails: The internal exchange began after Twitter yanked Milo Yiannopoulos', then-Breitbart's tech editor, blue verification checkmark for having harassed other users. Yiannopoulos then emailed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asking for his verification to be restored in return for better behavior. Dorsey forwarded the message to other executives, who went back and forth about how to handle the request.

Eventually, one executive wrote: "I'd like to understand the verification policy and whether or not he is eligible or what would make him eligible. That should be an objective criteria in my view." The emails that followed suggest that they instead made judgment calls to determine how to respond to instances of abuse.

Go deeper: Philippe Reines, a political consultant and former deputy assistant secretary of state, wrote an Op-Ed in Axios outlining six ways Twitter could fix its verification problem.

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - World

Azar to lead delegation to Taiwan in first high-level U.S. visit in decades

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. early Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

At least 100 killed, 4,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: At least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the blast — and the death toll is likely to rise, the Lebanese Red Cross said, per AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for the past six years.

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,543,662 — Total deaths: 700,714 — Total recoveries — 11,143,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,236 — Total deaths: 156,807 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.