Disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok’s foray into the Twitter-verse is raising almost as many red flags as his time on the congressional hot seat for the wildly inappropriate anti-Trump bias he exhibited both at work and during a prolonged affair with fellow FBI agent Lisa Page.
Strzok’s eagerness to join the platform shortly after his firing is in and of itself interesting given the fact that he avoided creating an account while his name was ballooning into the national headlines over the past several months. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of his Twitter incursion is what appears to be the platform electively providing him instant access to the coveted blue check verification badge.
For those that aren’t following the ins and outs of the controversy surrounding social media company policy changes, Twitter notoriously suspended its process of verifying users via the blue check badge back in November of 2017.
Many speculated whether or not this signaled a massive shift in policy and CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed as much, even issuing a statement stating, “verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance.” The company went on to add "we recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it.”
Dorsey, a social media billionaire with an estimated net worth of $5.2 billion according to Forbes, insists that his company remains a neutral force in politics despite public figures ranking as high as President Trump criticizing the platform for the censorship of conservatives.
But even before President Trump highlighted Twitter’s apparent censorship, the Silicon Valley company was already facing intense scrutiny for its handling of the distribution of verification badges, so much so that they suspended the verification process entirely for all accounts not associated with government officials or candidates running for office.
In fact just last week, a mere days before Strzok received his verification badge, Twitter public policy executives Kevin Kane and Lauren Culbertson reiterated to myself and a group of conservative leaders in Washington D.C. the company’s resolve to hold firm in their suspension of the verification process for all user accounts except those for “government officials” and “political candidates.”
Fast-forward to Monday, August 13th, the news of Strzok’s firing was spreading like wildfire throughout the media and online universe when none other than disgraced, recently unemployed Peter Strzok issued a press release in the inaugural tweet of a brand new, blue check verified Twitter account, @PeteStrzok.
The fact that someone with a public profile like Peter Strzok was able to receive a Twitter verification badge wouldn’t ordinarily be news, but given the company’s nearly yearlong, unrelenting commitment to their suspension of the verification process, Jack Dorsey owes us all an explanation.
Ever since Twitter restricted the verification process last November, the company has been notorious for its stringent enforcement of the policy. “Blue check” hopefuls not officially filed to run for elected office or currently serving as a government official are supposed to be out of luck which begs the question, how did Peter Strzok get a blue check verification badge?
Democrats will likely argue that Strzok was a government official and is thus deserving of the badge; however, while that argument sounds sensible, it runs afoul of Twitter’s strictly enforced minimum requirements for government official verification.
In fact, following last week’s meeting I had with Twitter’s public policy staff I emailed Twitter’s Government and Elections department specifically asking them for the requirements to be verified as a government official. The company responded, outlining six minimum requirements for blue check verification. The requirements are:
Login verification [on the account] is activated
Associated email must be governmental
Profile and Cover photo are not Twitter’s default photos
Bio specifies the person’s official title
A link to the gov (sic) office official website is added to the profile
[The request must be] emailed from the official government email address
Given these minimum requirements, Peter Strzok would have been materially incapable of satisfying Twitter’s verification policy.
Not only was it impossible for Strzok to meet the requirements that the “associated email must be governmental” and the request be emailed from the “official government email address,” the @PeteStrzok Twitter account never included an “official title” or a “link to the government office official website”—both requirements outlined by Twitter’s own executives.
Strzok’s circumvention of the verification policy is reminiscent of the David Hogg verification scandal from a few months back. Within days of the tragic school shooting, Hogg and many other pro-gun control Parkland students received their blue check verification badges, despite Twitter having enacted their suspension of the process nearly three months prior. In yet another sign of alt-left bias, Twitter refused to provide a verified badge to pro-Second Amendment Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv until conservatives (and even Chelsea Clinton) rallied to his side to pressure the social media company.
At best these cases are evidence that Jack Dorsey has very little control over his company and that policies are enforced with extreme inconsistency and lack of quality control. At worst this is tangible proof that Twitter seeks to promote an anti-American, alt-left ideology by colluding to lend its own credibility to individuals that seek to disrupt and wreak havoc on our Republic.
Which is it Jack? Millions of Americans want to know.
Editor's Note: A Twitter spokesperson issued the following statement in response to this column.
"Despite sunsetting the verification process in November, we have from time to time verified accounts when there is sufficient public interest to do so. The account in question was verified as a hedge against malicious impersonation that was taking place on the service and to authenticate the identity of the account owner. We do not verify accounts on ideological grounds - this is fundamentally against our principles as a company."