Some Twitter users have been finding themselves having their accounts blocked by the President for disagreeing with him, while others have been suspended or banned from using the Twitter service altogether for making threats to others or using inappropriate language. However, while Twitter and Trump continue to prevent users from reading our President’s official notices, as well as posting messages in response to them, President Trump seems to get a pass when it comes to making threats on the social media platform.
Last night, Twitter responded to angry users who have pointed this out. The tweet-thread, released by the ‘Twitter PublicPolicy’ account, read as follows:
“Some of you have been asking why we haven’t taken down the Tweet mentioned here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/25/553475174/declaration-of-war-means-north-korea-can-shoot-down-u-s-bombers-minister-says. We hold all accounts to the same Rules, and consider a number of factors when assessing whether Tweets violate our Rules. Among the considerations is “newsworthiness” and whether a Tweet is of public interest. This has long been internal policy and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it. We need to do better on this, and will. Twitter is committed to transparency and keeping people informed about what’s happening in the world. We’ll continue to be guided by these fundamental principles.”
There was a mixture of responses from the Twitter community about this, including some attacking the social media company. One user, @PostOrwellian, wrote, “Corporate Twitter’s Cost Analysis: Preventing a war crime and bad PR, vs., Profit from Tweet clicks until nuclear holocaust.”
Another user, @LadydeLuce, responded with a copy of Twitter’s terms which read, “Any accounts and related accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be temporarily locked and/or subject to permanent suspension. – Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.”
This is certainly a debate that will continue as Trump seems to drop threatening remark after threatening remark on Twitter, using it almost as a tool for his rhetoric and propaganda. Twitter by no means is legally responsible for removing comments like those Trump has made. Given the fact that Trump’s tweets create plenty of business for the social media company, it’s doubtful we will see them take a stand against our President anytime soon.
On the other hand, the fact that Trump continues to block people on Twitter, seemingly is circumventing the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, in that it is abridging free speech. He is essentially saying that, as President, he doesn’t want a portion of Americans to see his official messages, and that he only wants to allow those in support of him to be able to provide him with feedback. Again though, it’s doubtful anything meaningful will come of this from a legal standpoint anytime soon.
Let us know your thoughts. Should social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook adhere to their rules no matter how “newsworthy” a post is? Discuss in the comments section below.