After years of public calls to censor Donald Trump on Twitter – which heretofore have not been granted — Twitter is finally introducing a policy that could add warning labels to the U.S. President's most inflammatory and threatening Tweets.
Today, Twitter announced that it will begin overlaying warning notices on Tweets that the platform deems in the public interest to view but that might still otherwise be in violation of site rules.
The notice will say: "The Twitter Rules about abusive behaviour apply to this Tweet. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain available."
From here, users can elect to still view the Tweet. But the Tweets with these notices on them will feature less prominently on feeds and won't show up in safe search, Explore, Recommended Tweet push notifications, live events pages, notifications tabs, or Top Tweets on timelines. According to Twitter's announcement, this new policy is intended to "to strike the right balance between enabling free expression, fostering accountability, and reducing the potential harm caused by these Tweets."
It will apply to verified accounts with more than 100,000 followers belonging to government officials or those running for public office. As for what qualifies as an offending Tweet that serves the public interest, an internal Twitter team will determine this by taking into account "the immediacy and severity of potential harm from the rule violation," "whether preserving a Tweet will allow others to hold the government official accountable," "whether there are other sources of information about this statement available for the public to stay informed," "if removal would inadvertently hide context or prevent people from understanding an issue of public concern," and "if the Tweet provides a unique context or perspective not available elsewhere that is necessary to a broader discussion."
Sometimes, we decide that it may be in the public’s interest for certain Tweets to remain on Twitter, even if they would otherwise break our rules. We're going to start using a new notice to make it clear when we make these decisions. Read more:https://t.co/XqlJ9KHgir— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) June 27, 2019
Twitter, which has until this point largely taken a position of "don't shoot the messenger" when it comes to Trump's most incendiary Tweets — despite his many threats of violence to other nations and people on the platform — has stated in the past that “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate." But now, Twitter is finally acknowledging its responsibility in intervening when the U.S. President and other world leaders espouse dangerous rhetoric cloaked as free speech.