Idris Elba thinks there should be universal verification on social media

(FILE) Idris Elba Tests Positive for Coronavirus COVID-19

Idris Elba is on social media – Twitter and Instagram – with some regularity. At this point, he’s mostly just using his accounts to promote his work or chime in about social issues of the day. Back in the day, he broke the internet a few times by accidentally posting thirst traps and stuff meant for private DMs. Idris is also a high-profile Black man living in Britain, which means he has been victim to the insidious racism which permeates so much of British life, it seems. Idris watched as three young Black footballers were victimized by a mountain of racist abuse two weekends ago, and Idris thinks he has some kind of solution: universal verification on social media.

Idris Elba believes that everyone deserves to have that coveted blue check and shared his thoughts on social media pushing for universal verification.

“People in the public eye get verified on social media (symbolized by a blue tick), the process of verification requires them to prove their IDENTITY, so everyone knows WHO is speaking.” He then went on to write, in all caps, “SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES SHOULD MAKE THIS MANDATORY FOR ALL USERS.” He continued on and said that allowing private accounts to merely exist on social media is like “boarding a plane and not having to show I.D.”

“If cowards are being supported by a veil of privacy and secrecy, then social media is not a safe place. It’s an aeroplane that allows travelers to wear balaclavas.” He concluded that if these “cowards” wish to spew racism or hate online, that they should “say it with [their] name” and not with their username.

[From Complex]

While I don’t think universal verification will happen right now or in the next few years, I do think we’re probably heading in that direction. Or rather, we’re heading in a direction where more people will be verified, where there will – hopefully – be more accountability from social media companies to find a way to cull abusive and racist users and more. We know they *can* move fast when they want to, it’s just a matter of making them accountable full time.

As uncomfortable as it is to admit though, getting more people to be “verified” on social media won’t actually stop the racist abuse. These a–holes are not hiding. If we’ve learned anything in recent years, none of these dumbf–ks are actually ashamed of their opinions and hatred.

Idris Elba at 'Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw' film premiere, London, UK

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instagram.

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25 Responses to “Idris Elba thinks there should be universal verification on social media”

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  1. Merricat says:

    Forgive me, because I think this is an important issue but lord have mercy, he is hot.

  2. HeatherC says:

    Anyone besides me really wanting a full lecture on the benefits and challenges of SM verification, stretching out over hours….narrated by Idris Elba? I would so watch and listen the hell out of it multiple times.

    And while I fan myself, I wholeheartedly agree. Trolls hide behind multiple accounts, non POC claiming they are, men claiming they are women just for some leverage to attack someone on SM, Anonymity only boldens abuse and bullying.

  3. Oh_Hey says:

    It won’t stop all the jerks but it will get a lot of them off networks and away from the mainstream and all of us. Everyone isn’t going to be here next Gaetz or Rohan.

    Folks are scared of getting fired loosing credentials, credibility, friends and family. If you have to use your name you’d be more careful with it.

    • clomo says:

      I think it is the right direction to go. I think a lot of people would stop doing it once their livelihood was withdrawn which of course would happened once people’s words were attributed to their name and face. Of course there will always be those redneck a-holes who don’t care one iota but abuse on-line and don’t think it is a crime, and shouting hate-speech should be is abuse, it’s obscene and inappropriate with children having access to many sites that don’t filter users words.

    • Vizia says:

      It could also (potentially) affect how many bots are posting…..

  4. Ariel says:

    They aren’t ashamed, until they lose their jobs and become “famous” and their neighbors and families and coworkers find out what kind of person they are.
    The actual consequences, which don’t often happen, but occasionally do, seem to make them more contrite. We seem to get a lot of- that’s not me, that doesn’t represent the kind of person i am- though obviously, all evidence to the contrary.

  5. Snuffles says:

    The ones that aren’t ashamed are usually doing it for profit (hate for profit). The rest probably think they’ll just fly under the radar. But these days you can lose your job over it. Especially if they work for a company or organization that cares about their reputation.

    South Korea is moving in this direction. It’s a country that values personal reputation highly and will fight like hell if someone tries to besmirch it. Like people have killed themselves because they thought their reputations were ruined. It hasn’t reached social media accounts but on their internet portals like Naver, commenters are now required to use their real identities.

    The police even get involved when people get harassed on the internet or make accusations online. Entertainment agencies drop the hammer on online persistent online harassers. And fans join in by sending companies tips on people spreading rumors and lies.

    I wish the rest of the world had more legal recourse to tackle online harassment.

  6. Ann says:

    I think I’m one of the people this is directed at because I use Twitter to yell at politicians and I don’t want a blue check; it would ruin my progressive trolling. If it wasn’t optional then yeah maybe this is an idea because if it wasn’t anonymous I’d clean up my tweets and be less weird. I don’t do politics on FB because it isn’t anonymous.

  7. Eleonora says:

    I don’t agree with everything being known by companies/people.

    And not because I want to say bad things, but because I don’t want everyone to know that I have a nerdy hobby or what my opinion is on Brad Pitt.

    Moderation should be much stricter on websites. That will stop racist abuse much more than people being verified or not, as people, as you say, will do that anyway.

    Also, accounts should only be allowed to comment after being a member for a few days and have like 50/100 comments before they can start their own threads.
    Many forums have that.
    If trolls need to first make 100 normal comments before they can post a thread and then immediately get banned if they go nuts, it will discourage them.

  8. Hyrule Castle says:

    And anyone needing help anonymously is out of luck.

    Feeling suicidal and need to reach out?
    Your boss knows, your family knows.

    Need help escaping abuse? Your abuser knows too.

    Don’t @ me “yeah but!”

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      This is what I was thinking, too.

      Verification to stop evil people would be good, but there are serious downsides to this process in general (not connected to the abusers themselves). Most people aren’t evil, and many need anonymity to get stuff off their chest (nothing horrendous, just need to talk).

      Is there really no other way for SM to go after racists?

    • Eleonora says:

      You are right.

      And imagine being LGBTQ+ in a bigot country/household.
      Or you are a woman wanting to know about contraception or how to escape abuse?

      Scary stuff

    • HoofRat says:

      Verification would also put people at risk for tweeting against repressive regimes. I genuinely don’t know if there’s a solution to this trolling that wouldn’t stifle some voices that have no other way of being heard.

    • BnlurNforever says:

      Social media isn’t the only place for this type of help. The phone numbers are still active and since phones are capable of doing things besides texting/posting, I think people will still be able to access anonymous help.

      • Eleonora says:

        Then, who would someone call to find a community of like-minded people to talk about being in an abusive relationship/not voting the same as oppressibe people in the same household/where to find an abortion clinic/about being gay in a repressive environment/havimg mental health issues etc etc?

        Because I have no clue how to call these people.

        And calling makes noise. You can much easier hide a text than a phonecall if you are in a repressive household.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        For some people, making a phone call to certified numbers is much harder than using social media to talk to strangers (I know I’m a person who prefers to write 7 e-mails before making one phone call, and that’s just for dull office stuff, not life-saving conversations). Not to mention via SM you get access to help from around the globe, while phones are limited to your area or at best country.

        Reality is, for some people SM does a lot of good and anonymity is the only way they dare using it.

    • jwoolman says:

      I had death threats just from my letters to the editor in the local newspaper back in the day. No way will I make it easy for those folks to find me in realspace.

      He just hasn’t thought this through entirely for folks who don’t have his security options.

      People can just judge people according to their actual words and there can be rules to follow in any public forum. Violate the rules, lose access. The problem isn’t verification. It’s the reluctance to get serious about the rules of civil discussion. Look how long it took before Trump was bounced from Twitter, despite his constant violation of their Terms of Service. And we all knew exactly who he was and where he lived.

  9. equality says:

    One problem is a lot of people have the same name. I personally dislike using pictures of myself; I use my dogs’ picture. I do think people should be stopped from using pictures of other people though. Too many seem to get away with digital “blackface” and with using pictures of famous people. It irritates me when the Meghan hate accounts are allowed to use altered pictures of her.

  10. Noki says:

    I think when peoples livelihood or reputations are at stake then they will think about what they spew. Most social media accounts are linked these days,unless you are so hateful you go and make a whole different persona to abuse people.

  11. J ferber says:

    Just the pic and he IS the sexiest man alive. Just damn.

  12. thecookingpan says:

    I haven’t read the comments but after what my country (and the US for that matter before the inauguration) went through this last week, all planned using SM, I agree with him and other celebs throwing their weight behind this! Sock accounts and bits destroy the essence of SM. It’s the reason we can’t have nice things. Because bad people destroy lives and livelihoods in this manner. We lauded it during the Arab Spring but it has become a monster that needs management. Last week we had people inciting violence on SM using their accounts and Twitter only put ONE person in a two hour jail, no mater how many people reported the other accounts. Many people lost their lives last week but I suppose as a ‘shithole’ country we don’t really count in Twitter’s eyes.

    • Eleonora says:

      Look at the people commenting here.

      I don’t see a single one that uses their first and last name.
      I’m all for stronger legislaton, where platforms are obliged to moderate quickly and decisively.

      There are many people finding comfort with communities of like-minded people who want to talk freely without everyone being able to see who they are.

      This ranges from people who don’t want everyone to know they are fanatical scrabble enthusiasts, to people with mental health issues, to people who are different from their environment and get in trouble because of it. Just imagine a Democratic voter in deep red territory posting ther ideas or someone in a strict relihious family asking for info about a different way of believing.

      Not to mention stalkers and companies can find out everything about you.

      Do you really want burglars to know you were asking for activities in Madrid in a certain week, so they will know you will be in Spain then?

  13. Elena Ivanova says:

    Look, I get it.

    Idris Elba has willingly given up a large chunk of his privacy/anonimity. This is his life. This is the price one has to pay these days for being a celebrity. There are trade offs. What he got in return was… well, celebrity and all that entails. If you wanna be “People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive” you have to agree to a photoshoot and an interview – that type of a deal. He paid the price and the returns are bountiful.

    What he proposes is essentially for everyone to pay the same price for… talking about Korean bands. Or discussing sexy fanfiction. Or finding a support system of fellow LGBTQ people. Or talking shit about Russian governement while still living in Russia (do you know that Russian governement is currently fighting with Twitter over acess to user data? Thanks, Idris, for proposing a way to make the FSB’s life so much easier).

    I’m sorry, Idris’ admirers, but this is a position that can only come from a place of enormous priviledge posessed by someone who gave up his anonimity for fame and wealth. Most of us will get neither.

    And just to make a point I am leaving this comment under my actual first and last name. Because I was blessed with the combination that is basically Russian version of, say, Jane Smith. I sometimes play a game with new acquaintances asking them “I am ethnically Russian, guess my last and first name”. It never takes more than five tries combined. If I had something like my mother’s last name though? Yeah I would do literally anything to not have it connected to any of my online pseudonyms. And not because I ever harrassed anyone.