Twitter’s announcement yesterday that it would begin removing verification badges from some accounts had an immediate impact, as the company stripped the blue checkmark from a handful of accounts associated with the far right. But the announcement, which arrived via five tweets and an update to a Twitter support page, left much unanswered. The most common question was why Twitter would remove a user’s badge instead of simply suspending or banning the account. And the answer, the company says, has to do with offline behavior. The gist is this: if a user breaks Twitter’s rules on Twitter — that is to say, by tweeting — that user will still be disciplined in all the usual ways, a spokesperson said. What’s new is that Twitter now plans to do at least some monitoring of verified users’ offline behavior as well, to determine whether it is consistent with its rules. If it isn’t, users can lose their badges. And so a hypothetical verified user who tweeted nothing but pictures of kittens but organized Nazi rallies for a living could now retain his tweeting privileges, but lose his verification badge. The key phrase in Twitter’s policy update is this one: “Reasons for removal may reflect behaviors on and off Twitter.” Before yesterday, the rules explicitly applied only to behavior on Twitter. From now on, holders of verified badges will be held accountable for their behavior in the real world as well. And while it’s unclear what Twitter’s final policy will look like, the introduction of offline behavior to the Twitter rules adds an unpredictable new dimension to its anti-harassment efforts. To understand why Twitter would begin taking offline behavior into account, consider the case of Jason Kessler. Kessler, a white supremacist who organized the United the Right rally in Charlottesville in August, kicked off the latest controversy over Twitter’s rules when his account was verified last week. Kessler’s account was new — he deleted his previous account after making offensive comments — and his tweets, while offensive to many, seemingly did not break Twitter’s rules. On the other hand, by organizing the march, Kessler had promoted hate speech, which is explicitly against