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Kessler in Charlottesville. Photo: AP

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, got a Twitter verification earlier this week. Now, Twitter announced it's pausing verifications until confusion about the status is resolved. "Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance," the company said.

Why it matters: Social media verification is a big deal. While verification was meant to prevent copycats, the blue checkmark has grown to be seen as a sign of status and approval from the social network.

Kessler once tweeted that Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer's death "was payback time." He later briefly deleted his account, per the Daily Beast.

The backdrop: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey put out a new set of guidelines for the platform in October, which included removing "hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence." But Twitter, along with other tech giants, is caught in a lose-lose situation as it toes the line between policing its content and clamping down on free speech.

Go deeper: Twitter's free speech dance

Go deeper

24 mins ago - Technology

Facebook: Metaverse won't "move fast and break things"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook on Monday said it will invest $50 million over two years in global research and program partners to ensure its metaverse products "are developed responsibly."

Why it matters: "It's almost the opposite of that now long-abandoned slogan of 'move fast and break things,'" Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg told Axios in an interview at The Atlantic Festival Monday.

Ina Fried, author of Login
33 mins ago - Technology

Facebook presses "pause" on Instagram Kids

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook's announcement Monday that it was "pausing development" on Instagram Kids did little to slow a wave of criticism of the project ahead of a Senate hearing Thursday.

Yes, but: There's an argument to be made for building kids' versions of popular apps, even if their adult versions are causing real-world harms.

Ford's big plans to turbocharge the electric car industry in the U.S.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Ford Motor Company’s new $11 billion manufacturing plan, the biggest component of which will sit just outside Memphis, is part of a much bigger effort to put the U.S. at the center of the electric vehicle revolution, executive chairman Bill Ford says.

The big picture: Ford’s plans — for enormous facilities in both Tennessee and Kentucky, employing a combined 11,000 workers — are ambitious manufacturing efforts designed to minimize their environmental impact.