- Reuters/Neil Hall
The all-important “verified” blue tick on Twitter is, like so much else in life, hard won and easily lost.
Twitter is in the process of stripping white supremacists and far-right figures of their blue ticks on Twitter, because it said the blue ticks have come to resemble endorsement.
That now includes Tommy Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – the former leader of the English Defence League.
Robinson, who once described Islam as a “fascist” religion, is not happy, complaining that other controversial figures still retain their blue ticks. One example he gives is Ian Watkins, the former Lost Prophets frontman who is currently serving a prison sentence for multiple sexual offences against minors.
He also pointed to a Twitter account associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group which ruled in Egypt in 2012 and 2013, but is not considered a terrorist organisation by the UK government. Saudi Arabia and UAE have deemed the group a terrorist outfit.
They remove my blue tick meanwhile Islamic terrorist organisations still have theirs . Go figure pic.twitter.com/XwTFGA5IRt
— Tommy Robinson ???????? (@TRobinsonNewEra) November 16, 2017
According to Robinson, Twitter notified him on Wednesday that it was removing his verified badge permanently because his account didn’t confirm to its verification guidelines.
& so it begins pic.twitter.com/DXhkfW0IIq
— Tommy Robinson ???????? (@TRobinsonNewEra) November 15, 2017
“The truth is now hate speech,” Robinson wrote.
Robinson is known for regularly espousing anti-Islam views which are often factually incorrect. For example, he has publicised the incorrect theory that the former US president Barack Obama was raised a Muslim.
And he boasted on Saturday of attending an anti-Islam march in Poland where, according to media reports, demonstrators could be heard shouting for a “Jew free” country.
Robinson isn’t the only controversial figure to lose his verified status: neo-Nazi Richard Spencer also lost his blue tick, as have other right-wing commentators.