Twitter users have called upon the social networking site in an attempt to block President Trump’s account. In a statement released by Twitter, we have discovered that may never happen.
“Elected World Leaders”
“Elected world leaders play a critical role in that conversation because of their outsized impact on our society,” Twitter said. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate. It would also not silence that leader, but it would certainly hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
Critics of Trump have pointed out instances where the president has violated Twitter’s terms of service with his messages. Most recently, Trump’s comments about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the respective sizes of North Korea and the United States’ “nuclear buttons” drew a fresh round of calls to censor his account.
Twitter “handles” Political Speech
Twitter’s attempt to handle political speech on its site — and defining when and how that overlaps with violent speech — has been a long and often confusing process. The company also introduced new policies last month that specifically exempted “military or government” groups from its policies prohibiting accounts that “use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.” But even with Twitter’s latest clarifications, questions remain about how it defines and reviews political figures.
For example, Twitter in November declined to remove videos that Trump retweeted that were originally shared by Jayda Fransen. Jayda is the deputy leader of a far-right group in Britain called Britain First. Twitter declined to take the videos down from Trump’s account saying that they were newsworthy.
But in December, Twitter deleted Fransen’s entire account, apparently as part of its crackdown on violent extremist groups. The videos disappeared from Trump’s when Fransen’s account was deleted.
It’s also not clear if there is an instance in which Twitter would remove a world leader’s messages or account.
“We review tweets by leaders within the political context that defines them, and enforce our rules accordingly,” Twitter said. “No one person’s account drives Twitter’s growth or influences these decisions. We work hard to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”